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Comportamento / 18/03/2021


We need to talk about the relationship between work and mental health

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We need to talk about the relationship between work and mental health

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The WHO study also shows that, in relation to anxiety, Brazil also leads, with 9.3% of the population.

This problem includes effects such as phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress and panic attack. Women suffer more anxiety: about 7.7% of women are anxious and 5.1% are depressed. Among men, the number drops to 3.6% in both cases.

I've been putting off writing this article for months. In the past week, however, two reports have touched me. A student wrote to me saying that he had tried to take his own life. In a WhatsApp group that I participate in, another content producer received a message a reader thinking of doing the same.

I have close friends with depression. Others have the first symptoms. And I myself have had moments in the past when my mental health indicated that things could explode at any moment. The reason? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Brazil is considered the most anxious and stressed country in Latin America. In the last ten years, speaking globally, the number of people with depression has increased by 18.4%, this corresponds to 322 million individuals, or 4.4% of the Earth's population. In Brazil, 5.8% of the inhabitants - the highest rate in the Latin American continent - suffer the problem.

The WHO study also shows that, in relation to anxiety, Brazil also leads, with 9.3% of the population. This problem includes effects such as phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress and panic attack. Women suffer more anxiety: about 7.7% of women are anxious and 5.1% are depressed. Among men, the number drops to 3.6% in both cases.

Suicide rates in Brazil have also increased in the past year. The country has a new case every 46 minutes. Suicide is now the fourth leading cause of death among young people aged 15 to 29. Among men in this age group it is the third most common reason; among women, the eighth.

According to Fátima Marinho, director of the Health Surveillance Secretariat of the Ministry of Health, unemployment has been a risk factor for suicide attempts. In the two reports that I mention at the beginning of the text, this was the motivation.

The relationship between work (or lack of it) and depression

You who have a job, are you satisfied with it? According to a survey by the Locomotiva Institute, 56% of workers with a formal contract in Brazil say they are dissatisfied with their jobs. Add that to the 12 million unemployed in the country and we have a gigantic risk group.

We spent most of our day working. Those who don't have a job, spend most of the day worried about it –– anxious about the results of job interviews or thinking about the month-end accounts.

Then you enter a social network and see a guy who is a coach and is trying to sell a course, probably saying that you just have to work hard and work hard to be successful. Waking up at 5 am, meditating, running in the park.

In fact, the practices mentioned above are great for a more balanced life, however, selling these kinds of things as a recipe for success is a disservice to our society in general. Okay, not everyone who produces this type of content is charlatan, many give these and other tips like "train while they sleep, study while they have fun, persist while they rest, and then live what they dream" not for charlatanism, but because that’s exactly what they did –– and in their cases it worked.

Myself, when I realized that my old job was doing bad for my mental health, I plunged into my project to live as a digital nomad and even worked up to 14 hours a day to reconcile my formal job with the freelas that were beginning to emerge. . However, it would be a total irresponsibility on my part to credit just that to my success.

There are several variables that made me get to I am. Variables that you can't learn in a course or see them in my photos around the world published on Instagram. Being in the right place at the right time, for example, was something that helped me a lot –– and I call it luck, after all.

We have to understand that each human being is unique, each one has its own races, each one jumps. When selling successful formulas we put happiness in a box, as if it could not be achieved otherwise. This creates even more anxiety in those who are not mentally well and can generate frustration that will often trigger depression - and even suicide.

Entrepreneurship may not be the answer you need

I was a startup partner and today, despite considering myself just a writer, I am an entrepreneur in the literal sense of the word –– freelas became something bigger and matheusdesouza.com became a different content production company these areas.

This means that, despite doing what I love, which is writing, I spend a good part of my time solving bureaucratic things, answering emails and leaving a good part of my earnings with the government. I have already talked about this in another text.

Having your own business and working on your own ends up becoming the dream of many professionals who are dissatisfied in their jobs. However, this can become an even greater frustration. Entrepreneurship for the wrong reasons, just as a way to quit that job you hate, can be a shot in the foot.

Being your own boss is not as glamorous as it sounds. You will stress a lot with situations that were not part of your daily life before. Contracts, invoices, accounting… Not to mention customers –– or the lack of them.

According to data the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), in three years, 341.6 thousand companies were closed in Brazil. The economic crisis that haunted –– and continues to haunt –– the country is pointed out as the main culprit. But, come on: the analysis can go a little deeper. Not everyone has a business tact. It is common for companies to close because of their owners or managers.

If you are thinking of quitting to start your own business, consider whether this is really the best solution for your dissatisfaction with the job. A sector change within the company you work for or, ultimately, a move to another company can help you. Before trying to undertake, understand your motivations for doing so.

It is common to be contaminated by toxic environments and think that every will be like this, but, believe me: there are a lot of legal companies out there for you to work.

Don't be ashamed to ask for help

Conversations with strangers usually start with "what do you do for a living?" More than a social trigger, our professions are seen as status. For an unemployed person, this type of conversation can be very painful. Self-esteem goes down there.

Dealing with unemployment or job dissatisfaction alone can be dangerous to your mental health. Seek help. The ideal, of course, would be to have therapy sessions. However, not everyone is in a position to do so, so talking to friends or family can have a positive effect. Don't be ashamed to ask for advice.

Finally, know that you’re not alone

The suicide prevention calls made to the Centro de Valorização da Vida (CVV), through the number 188, have been free for the whole of Brazil since July 1, 2018, after signing an agreement with the Ministry of Health.

CVV is a non-profit civil association that works with suicide prevention, through volunteers who provide emotional support to all the people who want and need to talk. They receive adequate training and do not need to be trained in psychology. All calls are confidential.


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