One-third of B.C. workers also caregivers

44 per cent think employers not doing enough to help them find balance: Survey

One in three British Columbians are juggling the pressures of work while caring for a family member and it's taking a toll on their mental health, according to a new survey.

The poll of 500 adults in B.C., commissioned by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), found of those workers caring for a family member, one-third are taking care of someone with a disability, complex need or long-term health problem. Of those, 76 per cent aged 35 to 54 say their own mental health has been negatively affected as a result.

These are significant numbers, which will only grow as baby boomers continue to age,” said Bev Gutray, executive director of CMHA’s B.C. division. “With mental illness costing the Canadian economy billions of dollars in disability claims and absenteeism annually, it’s clear that employers’ bottom lines will benefit by showing leadership and helping employees maintain good mental health in the face of significant stresses at home.”

The poll also found 44 per cent of caregivers think employers aren't doing enough to help them balance work and the demands of caregiving. When asked how helpful their employer was in working to establish a reasonable balance between the requirements of job, personal well-being and the needs of an ill or disabled family member, only 56 per cent say employers are helpful.

The survey also found eight in 10 British Columbians think that with the state of the economy and the aging workforce, more people in the workforce will also be caregivers and will need support from their employers.

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