We are experiencing a work revolution – and it’s making us mentally ill

Louise Chunn writes that:

“We are in the middle of an unprecedented revolution in our working lives. Within the next 20 years nearly half of current jobs in the US are at risk of being automated, according to the Oxford Martin School’s commonly-cited prediction. London will be as affected as anywhere by the global moves towards automation.

But working is what most of us want to do. Work not only gives us an income, but also a purpose. Unemployment increases the likelihood of depression and anxiety by up to a factor of 10 within 12 weeks, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists. In the rust-belt states of the US, high rates of unemployment, economic decline and social stagnation have led to sharply rising death rates from drugs, alcohol and suicide.

If unemployment is bad for us, so, all too often, is working – despite the fact that, for most people, work is less onerous than in the past, better supported by technology and communications, and protected by more robust employment laws. Many people cite work as the cause of, or trigger for their mental health problems, whether they are referring to the relentless out-of-hours drive for productivity, or the insecurity of the gig economy and zero-hours contracts …”

Read more here.

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