Can You Be Too Young to Burnout?
Chances are when people talk to you about burnout, you imagine professionals at the top of their career, piling on stress and fatigue, exhausted by failing to keep track of the hours they have spent working. But you would be mistaken! Our most recent survey shows a whole new reality!
As you can see on the map below, two-thirds (66%) of 18-to-34-year-olds have experienced burnout, a figure that surpasses the national average currently at 57%, and also surpasses the percentage among older generations. Moreover, we note that significantly fewer Quebecers (40%) say they have experienced burnout, while the highest rates are observed in Alberta (69%), as well as Ontario (62%).
This poll was conducted from April 7 to 9 2019, with a representative sample of 1,444 Canadians. The margin of error is 2.5%. *For comparison purposes, for a probability sample.
Although this question calls for a self-assessment by Canadians, the results observed above reflect a new reality, by no means insignificant: we live at a furious pace, have adopted lifestyles that leave no room for rest, and are increasingly depressed and anxious.
An Increase in Mental Health Problems among Young People
The performance-driven society in which we live in and, among other things, the advent of social networks that push a doomed search for perfection to the extreme contribute to an increase of mental health problems among young people. Social networks put huge pressure on being high-performance and popular, and while a person’s identity takes shape during adolescence, the constant opinion of others on the Internet leads to a great deal of insecurity and vulnerability, according to Child Psychiatrist Jean-François Bélair. Is it any wonder these figures are so high?
Let’s just observe how young people are doing in Quebec, these future adults who will enter the labour market in the coming years. According to a study by the Institut de la statistique du Quebec (ISQ) in 2016-2017 with 62,000 young people, mental health problems continue to rise among high school students. As an example, more than 29% of young high schoolers currently suffer from a high level of psychological distress, and many are turning to medication for treatment. In the school environment, there has been a lot of talk about “overwork.”
In the end, perhaps overworking follows us from adolescence to adulthood and pushes us to do much more, maybe too much. According to Nancy Fortin, a regional resource person in psychopathology with the Ministry of Education, we often tell young people that they “must get the best grades possible, that they are young, and they can take it.” This is a dangerous discourse. We only need to look at the results presented below, taken from our 2018 Youth Study, to see the scale of the situation.
These figures may seem alarming. Often seen as taboo, many Canadians are not inclined to talk about their mental health problems to their co-workers. In practice, according to a survey by the Conference Board of Canada, only 21% of Quebecers would feel comfortable talking about mental health. Despite being so crucial to human health, head health is often set aside. Several initiatives however, for example, Bell Let’s Talk Day, have significantly increased education and communication to fight taboos and misinformation around mental health. Perhaps we will see a drop in these numbers in the near future…