March 19, 2024

TELUS Mental Health Index: Almost half of workers in Australia lack trusted workplace relationships, leading to feelings of isolation

Nearly forty per cent of workers also say their employer does not support or are unsure whether their employer supports psychological health and safety in the workplace

TUESDAY 19th MARCH 2024, SYDNEY AUSTRALIA - Today, TELUS Health released its TELUS Mental Health Index (“the Index”) with reports that examine the mental health of employed people in Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Europe. The Australian report reveals that nearly half (45 per cent) of workers in Australia lack trusted workplace relationships leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness even when there is social interaction. Further, nearly 40 per cent of workers say their employer does not support or are unsure whether their employer supports psychological health and safety in the workplace.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared loneliness to be a pressing global threat, with the effects of isolation and loneliness now being recognized and compared to well-known health risks such as smoking, obesity and lack of physical activity. In fact, the US surgeon general is saying that its mortality effects are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

“The absence of genuine workplace connections is silently leaving employees detached and isolated which is taking a toll on their mental wellbeing and productivity,” said Jamie MacLennan, Senior Vice-president and Managing Director of APAC, TELUS Health. “Despite the regulation of employer obligations to ensure psychological safety, our findings paint a worrying picture for Australian businesses but there is a real opportunity for workplaces to focus more specifically on both reducing risk and promoting a healthy workplace culture. This will benefit both employee wellness and encourage business productivity.”

The TELUS Mental Health Index also found:

  • Workers not feeling valued and respected by their colleagues and workers who report that their workplace is unsupportive are more than twice as likely to report that their mental health adversely affects their productivity at work.

  • Workers under 40 are nearly twice as likely as workers over 50 to lack trusted workplace and personal relationships.

  • Seventeen per cent of workers rate the mental health benefits and services provided by their employer as 2 or 1 (poor) out of 5; this group has mental health scores at least 14 points lower than workers rating 4 or 5 (excellent), and at least 11 points lower than the national average.

  • Despite recent changes to the regulation of employer obligations to ensure psychological health and safety in the workplace, nearly 4 in 10 workers indicate that their employer does not support/are unsure about support for psychological health and safety.

  • Thirty-seven per cent of workers also do not perceive, or are unsure, that harassment, bullying, unhealthy conflict, and other harmful behaviours are quickly and fairly resolved in their workplace. The mental health score of this group is at least nine points lower than workers reporting quick and fair resolution.

In January 2024, the mental health scores of workers in various regions were:

  • Australia: 63.1

  • New Zealand: 59.6

  • Singapore: 62.6

  • United Kingdom: 64.7

  • Europe: 62.0

  • United States: 70.7

  • Canada: 63.5

The TELUS Mental Health Index is based on a response scoring system that then turns individual responses into point values. Higher point values are associated with better mental health and less mental health risk. Scores between 0 to 49 correspond with distress levels, scores between 50 to 79 correspond with strain levels and scores between 80 to 100 correspond with optimal levels of mental health.

“Young workers in Australia are feeling the impacts of rapid societal changes, alongside diminishing social support,” said Paula Allen, Global Leader, Research & Client Insights, TELUS Health. “There are challenges like inflation, housing affordability and job loss risks that are clear stressors, especially at the start of a person’s career when there is typically less financial stability. Organizations can help by focusing on building a culture of trust, which counters isolation, and highlighting their health, personal and financial programs, which offer crucial support.”

The January TELUS Mental Health Index includes additional findings on key psycho-social risks in the workplace and sub-scores including, optimism, anxiety and depression. Read the full Australian TELUS Mental Health Index here.

Note to Editors
For further information on the TELUS Mental Health Index, or to find out more about the methodology, please refer to the MHI Australia update.

About the TELUS Mental Health Index
The data for the TELUS Health Mental Health Index was collected through an online survey from January 13, 2024 to January 22, 2024 with 3,000 respondents. All respondents reside in Australia and were employed within the last six months. The data has been statistically weighted to ensure the regional and gender composition of the sample reflects this population.

About TELUS Health
TELUS Health is a global healthcare leader providing comprehensive primary and preventive care services and solutions to improve physical, mental and financial wellbeing for employees and families worldwide. With our advanced technology and dedicated team members, including more than 100,000 compassionate health professionals, we are covering more than 70 million lives in 160 countries. We are on a mission to become the most trusted wellbeing company in the world by building the healthiest communities and workplaces on the planet through simplifying access to care and improving the flow of information between care providers, insurers, employers and individuals. For more information please visit:

Media Contact:
The PR Group: [email protected]