Do Jobs Have the Capability of Imposing Existentialism on Employees That Can Lead to Mental Health Problems?

In philosophy, existentialism is a concept centered on the assessment of existence and of the manner in which people find themselves to the living in the world. The perception is that people first of all exist and later on spend their entire life changing their nature or essence. In other words, it is concerned with uncovering oneself and the relevance of life via personal responsibility, free will and choice. In the contemporary world, there are various things or issues that force human beings to change their essence or nature for good or for worse such as jobs. As a result, after a comprehensive review of different articles, it will be possible to prove that jobs do or do not have the capability to impose existentialism on employees and possibly lead to mental health problems.

Existentialism on Employees and Mental Health Problems

Professions such as pilots on medications must not be given the chance to fly jetliners (Coutu). The issue is not that people perform dismally on meds, but instead they in most cases do not stay on them, end up being depressed and suffer other types of mental complications, but with the presence of psychotropic drugs, people stand a chance to live normal lives. Coutu went on to mention prominent individuals such as Kay Jamison (psychologist) and Elyn Saks (attorney), who both garnered a MacArthur award suffered mental illness and were unable to stay on medication during early periods of their disease. From Coutu’s perspective, a certain career or job has a mental implication on an individual and the only way out is by visiting a psychiatrist’s office.

In a workplace environment, there are bound to be a number of changes that may impact the psychological well-being of employees. For example, things such as failures, setbacks and disappointments tend to arise once in a while (Dcosta 2284). Consequently, many areas such as a person’s work-life balance, relationships and self-confidence are adversely impaired. Elimination of such issues can at times be difficult and at worse may push some employees to a mental breakdown in the long term (Hoppers 24).

A working environment is responsible for causing mental and health problems. Even though it is hard to quantify the effect of work alone on an individual’s identity, social recognition and self-esteem, a lot of mental health professionals are of the opinion that workplace environment can have a big impact on a person’s mental welfare (Bioski and Nicholson 14). Employment offers different groups of psychological experiences that foster mental well-being such as time structure, social contact, collective purpose and effort, social identity and regular activity. Some of the possible reasons of work-associated stress are burden, absence of elaborate directions, unreasonable timelines, inadequate proper decision-making process, job insecurity, isolated working environments, surveillance and lack of child-care arrangements (Harnois and Gabriel 16). Additionally, stress and mental challenges can lead to poor health and accelerate levels of work-related accidents and injuries.

In the developed world, stress and burn-out is a big challenge. For example, a report by OECD in 2006 revealed that Denmark has the world’s most mentally worn-out individuals (Krum 57). In the same report, a significant number of people who opt for early retirement in Denmark or can handle light tasks, do so due to mental reasons such as stress, depression and burn-out (Krum 57). However, by using ideas from the existential approach can improve coaching for individuals with an experience of work-associated stress (58). In other words, Krum reveals that existential coaching can be a remedy or a way of lowering stress by assisting people realize that openness to experience is a process of garnering insight into their management (69). Just like the others, Krum points out that stress appears to emanate from a feeling of being pressured to change or conform to transformation (68).

For long, depression has been linked with huge societal burdens. The economic costs from depression in the United States stands at billions of dollars with the biggest proportion being work-related. Despite outreach and enhanced medical interventions to improve depression outcomes among workers, uptake has been ineffective partly due to the fact that purchasers are devoid of information on their return on investment (Philip et al. 1346). According to Philip et al (1348), screening and depression care management for employees can lead to an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $19976 for every quality-adjusted life-year as regards usual care.

Life comes to a halt in different ways. As events unfold, scenarios come into being. Others are unbearable. Suicide happens whenever people have the perception that their distress will persist, unmitigated. According to the Sheehan and Warren (1), a large percentage of law enforcement officers commit suicide annually. In a number of cases, their uneventful decisions taking place while addressing or coping with job-associated issues and challenges in personal relationships. Intrusive notions, unbalanced diet, insomnia, lack of physical exercise and substance abuse aid alter their regularly effective stances and proper judgement. Regardless of a difference for the reasons, the outcome does not. Self-inflicted demise, immutable, unrealistic and intransigent, under regular circumstances, acquires added adverse effect. Such acts have detrimental effects on friends, families and colleagues as well. Additionally, organizations are impacted negatively (1).

Increased output, flexibility, efficiency, change and rivalry, are normal attributes of many workplaces in a globalized marketplace (Hilton et al 996). The pressure to cope with financial difficulties in working environments of continuous uncertainty and changing priorities has focused the attention of both the private and public sector alike on economic capital, thus, marginalized the relevance of human capital. Such an environment has an important role on the mental well-being of employees. In other words, it results to poor health results and an unfair distribution of burdens (Willis, Lou and Verins 20).


From the articles, it is clear that the social and environmental conditions, and especially relative social hindrance, have immense impacts on mental illness and health. Economic engagement via access to conducive, proper work, and democratic and social participation are deemed crucial to mental well-being of individuals, entities and the nation at large. Moreover, it can be learnt that it is important to comprehend the essence of the meaning that human beings ascribe to their experience of being under pressure by studying the source of emotions, beliefs, aspirations and values. It also confirms the point that giving up past valued aims grounded on the basic beliefs should not be undermined. Based on the philosophy (existentialism), people exist first and later spend much of their time transforming themselves. However, in the modern capital world, jobs or working environments change people for the worse. Therefore, it is with no doubt that jobs have the capacity to impose existentialism on workers that may result to mental health challenges and at extreme, death if unchecked.



Works Cited

Bioski, Diana L., and Nicholas R. Nicholson. “5 / Social Isolation.” Chronic Illness: Impact and Intervention. By Ilene Morof Lubkin. N.p.: Jones & Barlett, 1986. N. pag. Print.

Coutu, Diane. “High-Pressure Jobs and Mental Illness.” Harvard Business Review. Harvard, 02 July 2015. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.

Dcosta, Divina Maria, PhD. “Psychological Well-being at Work Place – Supportive Interventions.” International Journal of Information Research and Review 3.5 (n.d.): 2283-288. IJIRR. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.

Harnois, Gaston, and Phyllis Gabriel. Mental Health and Work: Impact, Issues, and Good Practices. Geneva: Mental Health Policy and Service Development, Dept. of Mental Health and Substance Dependence, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, World Health Organization, 2000. Print.

Hilton, Michael F., PhD, Paul A. Scuffham, PhD, Judith Sheridan, D Clin Psych, Catherine M. Cleary, Grad Dip App Sc, Nerina Vecchio, PhD, and Harvey A. Whiteford, MBBS, MPH. “The Association Between Mental Disorders and Productivity in Treated and Untreated Employees.” Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (2009): n. pag. Research Gate. American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 5 Dec. 2014. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.

Hoppers, Kim. “Reframing Early Psychiatric Crises: A Capabilities-Informed Approach.”

| Réseau International Sur Le Processus De Production Du Handicap. Center to Study Recovery in Social Contexts, n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

Krum, Anne Kongsted. “How Can Ideas from the Existential Approach Enhance Coaching for People with Work-Related Stress?” 6 (2012): n. pag. Oxford Brookes University. Oxford, June 2012. Web. 20 Mar. 2017.

Philip, Philip S., MD, DrPH, Evette Ludman, PhD, Amanda Patrick, MS, Jerry Avorn, MD, Francisca Azocar, PhD, Joyce McCulloch, MS, Gregory Simon, MD, MPH, and Ronald Kessler, PhD. “The Costs and Benefits of Enhanced Depression Care to Employers.”Arch Gen Psychiatry. American Medical Association, 24 Dec. 2006. Web. 20 Mar. 2017.

Sheehan, Donald C., and Janet I. Warren. Suicide and Law Enforcement: A Compilation of papers submitted to the Suicide and Law Enforcement Conference, FBI Academy, Quantico, Virginia, September 1999. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2001. Print.

Willis, Eileen, Lou Morrow, and Irene Verins. Mental Health and Work: Issues and Perspectives. Bedford Park, (S.


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