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More than a third of Canadians report burnout

Nurses are especially burned out, according to new research
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Both employers and employees have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jan. 17 is commonly known as Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year.

Throw in a pandemic and Blue Monday could be bluer for many.

New research by Mental Health Research Canada — commissioned by Workplace Strategies for Mental Health — studied how employees are feeling at their workplace, using factors like engagement, recognition, and safety to determine their well-being.

The study, conducted last month, found that five industries had burnout rates above the national average of 35 per cent:

  • Health and patient care (53 per cent)
  • Transportation (40 per cent)
  • Finance, legal and insurance (39 per cent)
  • Education and childcare (38 per cent)
  • First responders (36 per cent)

Also, within the health and patient care industry, the study revealed that 66 per cent of nurses are burned out.

Mary Ann Baynton, director of collaboration and strategy at Workplace Strategies for Mental Health, said the study’s findings are concerning.

"It's not surprising though — considering we're once again faced with extreme uncertainty as the pandemic rollercoaster continues. For so many of us, anxiety and exhaustion are at an all-time high."

The signs of burnout can differ from each person, but some common characteristics include emotional exhaustion, cynicism and reduced efficiency at work.

Baynton also noted that burnout is more prevalent in people who have high expectations for themselves or feel unappreciated for their work contributions.

"We're troubled about the many respondents who singled out the lack of psychological supports at work," said Michael Cooper, vice-president at Mental Health Research Canada. "With the pandemic, it's more important than ever for employers to consider new leadership approaches to help those employees most at risk of burnout. The consequences of not doing so are significant."

To find help preventing burnout for yourself or others, visit Workplace Strategies for Mental Health. Employers can also access free tools and resources to reduce the risk of burnout in the workplace.