"The percentage of people we see for anxiety now, at around 25%, is up from around 13% only ten years ago."

In twenty-four years of my ownership and directorship of OCP and related companies,

issues surrounding personal relationships have always been what we see the most people for.

Our statistics show that in a given year, for the last two-and-a-half decades and irregardless of profession, up to 25% of people that come through the program are citing personal relationships as the issue they’re needing support with.

This accords with my experience in the industry also, as even today my team and I still take calls each week regarding personal relationships. Whether it’s a breakdown in a marriage or concerns around custody of the children, conflict in personal relationships is still a very real issue for a large number of people.

However, and for the first time since I entered the industry in 1995, our statistics are now showing that anxiety has eclipsed personal relationships as the new number one presenting issue. The percentage of people we see for anxiety now, at around 25%, is up from around 13% only ten years ago.

This is very troubling for me, and I’m sure for many others, as it shows that despite recent advances in mental health awareness, and heightened interest in the employee assistance industry and human resources in general, there is still a very real challenge with mental health in New Zealand.

There are a few reasons I believe that this is happening, but I believe one of the main sources of these levels of anxiety is a reduced resilience and ability to cope with day to day challenges across the board.

In this age of convenience, instant gratification is so accessible. Many know perhaps too well the convenience of Uber Eats for dinner after a busy day at work or last-minute change of plans!

Having this and so many other things in life come so easily and so readily is both a blessing and a curse. I believe we’re getting too used to avoiding the sacrifices we used to have to make, and the discipline we used to have to possess. The relative ease we can now experience day to day, while positive in some ways, is a recipe for discomfort and anxiety when those challenges come along, as they always do and always will.

So maybe next time you find yourself too busy for dinner, or neglecting the vacuuming in the house, see if you can muster up the willpower to whip something up or give the carpet a once over. You’ll feel a lot better for it, and each small step you take will strengthen you for when the challenges we all face come knocking. Knowledge of what needs to be done is not the power to make real change without one more ingredient – action!

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