If you’re a student or recent graduate, the job search can be the most stressful time of your life. Finding a job that you’re not going to hate is even harder. Because of this, many of us end up taking on jobs that are demotivating and are bad for our mental health. In order to help you avoid these jobs, we’ve created a list of the top 10 worst jobs for mental health.
While it’s nice to have a job that provides a good income, many people find that their jobs are more mentally draining than physically demanding. Even with good pay, many people are experiencing symptoms of mental illness in the workplace. If you’re having a hard time keeping up with your personal life, it’s time to consider changing careers.
Have you ever heard of the term “work/life balance”? Over the years, it has become a buzzword that has been used to describe a work environment that offers its employees a balance between work, family, and all other aspects of their lives. The term has grown to include the ability for employees to take vacations, time off for illness, and time to spend with family and friends.
As part of Mental Health Month, we asked our readers what mental health issues they are currently facing. We received more than 2,358 responses from dozens of professional groups. Our community tends to be younger (85% are between 18 and 39 years old) and more likely to have six-figure student debt (68% have more than $100,000 in debt). An earlier survey of over 800 readers found that one in 15 young professionals with high student debt had considered suicide because of this burden. Since then, student debt has continued to rise, as have thoughts of suicide: 1 in 14 respondents has had thoughts of suicide. On top of that, we are facing the worst pandemic in 100 years. Scientific publications have pointed to an increased risk of suicide due to the emotional stress of the coronavirus pandemic. With this in mind, we ranked the 10 professions that are collectively most vulnerable to psychological stress due to student debt and the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll also focus on the professions bearing the brunt of student loans and the pandemic.
Heavy mental health care professions
In total, our study assessed hundreds of occupations. To be included in the list below, a profession had to have at least 50 respondents who participated in the survey. We ranked occupations according to the percentage of respondents who reported having serious mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. These are the professions.
Total percentage of dentists reporting psychological distress due to student loans or the pandemic : 91% We found that in the midst of the economic crisis, 56% of dentists lost their income completely. In our community, the average debt of a dental student is $390,000. The typical income for a junior dentist is between $120,000 and $150,000. Many dentists expect their lives to be very stable financially. However, if you graduate with more debt than many people’s mortgages, the burden on you is enormous. These stressors can lead to severe depression and other emotional disorders. Add to that the trend of dentists becoming employees rather than contractors, thanks to corporate dentistry and lower insurance reimbursement rates, and you can see why dentists are 10th on our list.
|Mental health problems reported by dentists|
Sample = 350 dentists
Overall, the percentage of pharmacists reporting psychological distress due to student loans or the pandemic : 93% In our study, pharmacists were among those least economically affected by COVID-19. At the same time, they are psychologically weighed down by student debt, which is often twice as high as the pharmacist’s income at the time of graduation. The average debt of a pharmacist in our community is $227,000. Prior to COVID, the employment outlook for pharmacists was not good. During the pandemic, the number of hours pharmacists worked increased dramatically as Americans stocked up on food, supplies and medications. But in the long run, pharmacists face significant mental health problems after spending years in school and then entering a crowded job market with heavy debt.
|Mental health problems reported by pharmacists|
Sample = 147 pharmacists
Total percentage of nurses reporting psychological distress due to student loans or the pandemic : 93% Nurses are currently struggling, as many are directly involved in patient care and disease management or at greater risk of loss of income than other health professions. In fact, 7% of nurses reported a complete job loss in May 2020 and 23% reported a drop in income. Nurses also face the emotional burden of significant student debt, especially if they have taken an accelerated program beyond the standard BSN degree. All of this, of course, can lead to even more mental health problems, lack of motivation, and other symptoms of severe stress.
|Mental health problems reported by nurses|
Sample = 95 nurses
7. Physician assistant
Total percentage of medical assistants reporting psychological distress due to student loans or the pandemic: 93% Although the rate of suicidal thoughts among PAs was encouragingly low, a very high percentage reported other mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety due to student loans or pandemics. PAs are similar to other mid-level claimants in that they are more likely than physicians to lose their jobs or experience a drop in income, even though they earn less than physicians. Our average AP reader has about $177,000 in student debt. Many people refinance or repay loans in the hope of a steady income. PAs in elective settings are currently under economic pressure, and PAs caring for COVID patients in the workplace are under tremendous emotional pressure, which is why they are 7th on our list.
|Mental health problems reported by HAs|
Sample = 82 medical assistants
Total percentage of optometrists reporting psychological distress due to student loans or the pandemic: 95% Forty-six percent of optometrists surveyed lost their income completely. By May of the following year, this figure had dropped to 21%. Although optometrists are gradually returning to work, the economic impact of the pandemic on the profession has been one of the most severe in our sample. Our average optometrist has about $268,000 in debt and earns between $80,000 and $150,000. Taking on more debt than you deserve definitely increases your risk of depression and suicide. Owning your own practice may have benefits, but the optometric profession has experienced similar business consolidation that is reducing optometrists’ income and increasing student debt. The slow economic recovery has also contributed to economic anxiety among optometrists.
|Mental health problems reported by optometrists|
Sample = 56 optometrists
5. Consultant / Therapist
Total percentage of counselors and therapists reporting psychological distress due to student loans or the pandemic: 95% Although counselors and therapists have not been hit as hard by the economic crisis as other professions, of all the professions surveyed, they are the most likely to have suicidal thoughts. Helping people improve their lives through counseling can be exhausting and the interaction during each session can be exhausting. Counselors and therapists are probably in over their heads right now. The number of calls to suicide hotlines increased during the pandemic, in some cases by a hundredfold. Many counselors and therapists have degrees that they paid for with student debt. The cumulative feeling of being both financially strapped and emotionally exhausted is why counselors and therapists rank fifth on our list.
|Mental health problems reported by counsellors and therapists|
Sample = 60 counselors and therapists
4. non-profit specialist
Total percentage of nonprofit professionals reporting psychological distress due to student loans or pandemic : 96% Donations to charities have fallen and are likely to fall further. In addition, professionals in the nonprofit sector are generally poorly paid, work long hours, and lack access to good health insurance. We found that employees of nonprofit organizations tend to have higher skill and education levels than the general population, which also means they have higher student debt. While nonprofit employees by definition have access to the state’s low interest loan program, the lack of effectiveness of this program leaves many nonprofit employees feeling hopeless about their financial future. Given the additional strain the pandemic puts on the limited resources of nonprofit organizations, it is not surprising that professionals from these organizations are high on the list. There may also be increased levels of depression and anxiety disorders.
|Mental health problems reported by professionals in the nonprofit sector|
Sample = 68 specialists from non-profit organisations
3. Social worker
Total percentage of social workers reporting psychological distress due to student loans or the pandemic : 96% It is very difficult for social workers to leave their offices. We have seen reports that children and women are now more vulnerable to domestic violence or abuse. Working in social services with abused children and others can be very damaging to a person’s mental health. It was also reported that drug and alcohol abuse increased during the pandemic. In today’s America, social workers are on the front lines of social problems while facing low pay. In addition to the occupational hazards, the average social worker has a student debt of about $125,000. This is often due to the fact that many licensed clinical social workers (LCSW) must have a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of social workers is less than $50,000 per year. High emotional stress at work, low income and very high student debt are the reasons why social workers rank third on our list.
|Mental health problems reported by social workers|
Sample = 53 social workers
Total percentage of psychologists reporting psychological distress due to student loans or the pandemic : 97% Psychologists have one of the highest risks of suicidal thoughts of any profession. They face the same professional risks as social workers and counselors because of the emotional burden they carry. Since many psychologists require a doctorate in psychology to enter the profession, our average psychologist has a student debt of $255,000. Psychologists’ incomes do not match this level of debt, averaging only $70,000 to $90,000.
|Mental health problems reported by psychologists|
Sample = 76 psychologists
Total percentage of veterans reporting psychological distress due to student loans or the pandemic: 98% Vets top our list of the worst professions for mental stress. Veterinarians have not suffered as much from the COVID economic crisis as some of the other professions on this list. In addition, they face enormous emotional pressure in their work when they have to euthanize animals that they could care for but cannot because of the economic constraints of their owners. Veterinarians are often called greedy, but they have huge student debt and earn far less than their equally educated medical colleagues. In fact, the average vet has a student debt of $278,000 on an average income of $80,000 to $100,000. Although vets don’t have suicidal thoughts, they are the most concerned about student loans of all the professions on this list. The next time you see your vet, thank him for his compassion for animals and for what he does. You’ll appreciate it more than you think.
|Mental health problems reported by veterinarians|
Sample = 182 veterinarians
Which professions did we miss?
If your job isn’t on the list, that doesn’t mean you or colleagues you know aren’t struggling with mental health issues. By comparison : Lawyers rank 11th on the list of worst mental health professions, physiotherapists 12th and teachers 13th. One of the best mental health professions is actually a doctor, which surprised me. Based on the results of our survey, we found that physicians.
- More likely, you have a goal in mind right now.
- Less affected by economic consequences than other professions (almost no job losses, only lower wages)
- More possibilities for debt cancellation leading to full repayment of study debt (e.g. forgiveness of loans for public services).
Share your thoughts in the comments about mental health issues in your profession.
We conducted a survey of 3,472 people on the Student Loan Planner® mailing list. Eighty-six (85%) of borrowers are between the ages of 20 and 39. Seventy (70) percent of respondents had six-figure student debt. Sixty-three (63%) of the respondents identified themselves as women and 37% of the respondents identified themselves as men.I Refinance your student loan and receive a bonus
Frequently Asked Questions
Which profession has the highest rate of depression?
(The data on this is based on the 2012 Harris Poll, which say that “More than 5 percent of Americans say they are depressed and the rate is even higher among men and women with less education.”) Mental health is a serious concern within the workplace. More than one-third of the American workforce has reported an increase in depressive symptoms over the last year. Statistically, there is a significant link between workplace depression and a host of other negative outcomes, including suicides and loss of productivity.
What is the saddest job?
Over the past decade, the job market has changed drastically. The advent of the internet has led to an explosion of opportunities for people around the world to work from home. The boom in the self-employment industry has been great for many, but not all. Social and emotional difficulties caused by working from home can be just as bad as those experienced by those who actually have to get up and go to work each day. There are many jobs that are terrible for your mental health, but most people are unaware of all the negative effects of their chosen profession.
Working with people can be stressful, especially when you’re a teacher or administrator. If you’re one of the unlucky ones who have to deal with an employee who isn’t the brightest bulb in the box, you’ve probably wondered how you can help them. What’s the best way to deal with someone’s issues? Should you turn a child in or let the situation run its course? And what about your own personal life? Can you add a little stress of your own? These are all valid questions and concerns that are important to address for any employer.
What are the most mentally draining jobs?
There are certain jobs that can actually be a mental burden, meaning that they can cause anxiety and depression in the employee. It’s a fact that most people don’t like to admit, but this is also a fact that they must know. Not only is it possible to have too much stress in your life, but it’s also possible for you to lose your desire to do things if you’re mentally drained from your work. Mental health is something everyone should think about and take care of when possible. The problem is, a lot of people are too busy to think about it. There are plenty of mental health issues that plague the population, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. These mental health issues can have a huge impact on your day to day life, affecting your levels of happiness and productivity in the work place.