Does Job Stress Contribute to Mental Illness?

Fatima shares with us the pressure that job stress brings to new graduates, as well as the reassurance that you are not alone.

Have you ever wondered if job stress contributes to the development of mental illness?

The short answer is yes!

Job Stress and Mental Illness

Many researchers state that stress affects the physical and emotional responses of an individual, leading to poor mental and physical wellbeing. Job stress is most common in workplaces where the needs of the job are very demanding, therefore exceeding the capabilities and resources of the employees. This can also be labeled as ‘work-related stress’ and research has suggested that it can encourage mental health issues such as anxiety, leading to poor decision making and low levels of concentration.

Work Culture and Mental Health

Did you know that work-related stress can arise when the culture of the organization is negative? It includes the attitudes, beliefs, and behavior within the working environment, therefore resulting in how well an employee’s physical and mental wellbeing might be. However, if your work culture is positive and includes elements such as supervisor support, training, and teamwork, it can encourage positive mental health within individuals as well as improve job satisfaction.

Job Hunting and Mental Health

Additionally, it has come into focus that job stress and uncertainty of job hunting is heightened within the recent graduate population of individuals. Many graduates apply to multiple roles and will most likely face rejection as the market is competitive. This might cause them to develop poor mental health as they might start to perceive themselves as failures.

Support for Graduates

With regards to high demanding job roles, it has been found that these sorts of roles (eg: a newly graduated nurse) are predictors of job stress, leading to high turnover rates within these fields. Therefore, newly graduated students who have ongoing mental health issues or are in high demanding roles require more support.


We have discussed a combination of factors that can impact mental health negatively, leading to mental illness. These days, students and graduates are more open about discussing their mental health and how it is impacting them in a negative manner. As this is a rising concern and the transition from education to full-time work is very daunting. Workplaces should consider more ways to promote positive working culture and climate that helps to support the development of their employees and allow them to feel comfortable discussing mental health issues.

Written by Fatima Begum