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Study finds young Canadians are dealing with excessive stress

November 5, 2012

A new study conducted by Sun Life Financial Canada found that young Canadians are experiencing a great deal of stress. In fact, 90 percent of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 24 reported they experience excessive stress, and 72 percent said they felt overwhelmed.

The findings were compiled for the annual Sun Life Canadian Health Index, and it was discovered that finances and work life are the biggest sources for stress. In addition, personal relationships and health issues also ranked high for stress-influencers.

"We're concerned to see the impact of economic instability on young Canadians with nine in 10 feeling excessively stressed," said Kevin Dougherty, president of Sun Life Financial Canada. "This finding is consistent with what we are seeing is our disability claims business - for Canadians age 30 and under, 40 per cent of their long term disability claims relate to mental health. We will use these insights as we continue to grow our benefits and workplace wellness programs as well as offer financial planning to help curb stress levels."

The report also found that 39 percent of young Canadians felt that they weren't able to utilize their skills fully at their job and they felt underemployed. When it came to a person's emotional and physical health, it was closely linked with their employment. For instance, 75 percent of people working full-time said their health was very good or excellent. However, 67 percent said the same when they were part-time workers and 56 percent of unemployed reported that as well.

"This report endorses the belief that employment has a positive effect on one's overall health," said Dr. Ian Arnold, recently retired Chair of the Workforce Advisory Committee for the Mental Health Commission of Canada. "Positive elements that are attributed to having a full-time job do help to keep illnesses at bay and Canadians optimistic while maintaining a healthy lifestyle."

Not only are these individuals stressed out, but they do not feel like they have any support. Of those who are experiencing excessive stress, 37 percent reported they did not have the help they needed to manage their stress.

Those who want to talk about the amount of stress young Canadians deal with can make calls to Canada using international calling cards


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