UNE staff suffering serious mental issues, survey finds

A disturbing number of University of New England (UNE) staff are suffering serious mental health issues, a survey has found.

As a result, the UNE Branch of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) - which conducted the psychological health and wellbeing survey of UNE staff - is now calling on senior management to act immediately to address the ongoing crisis at UNE.

The survey, conducted using clinically validated measures of mental health, was completed by around one-fifth of UNE workers, with more than a quarter reporting symptoms indicative of severe or extreme depression, anxiety and/or burnout.

The survey also found that 29% of respondents reported experiencing workplace bullying on a daily basis.

Branch Vice-President, Matthew Allen, said the results indicated serious levels of distress among UNE staff.

"These results are shocking but unfortunately they are not surprising given the unsustainable levels of under-staffing and overwork at UNE," Dr Allen said.

"Staff are exhausted and this is made worse by the culture fostered by our management."

The survey results come in the wake of the recent resignation of former Vice-Chancellor Brigid Heywood.

Dr Allen said survey respondents pointed to a chronic lack of transparency, accountability and due process at UNE, which had led directly to instances of bullying and misconduct.

"In our view these results show that UNE is not currently a safe workplace for staff and we have conveyed this message to the Council and acting Vice-Chancellor, and requested immediate action," Dr Allen said.

The union has also called for the resignation of Chancellor James Harris, and the immediate filling of over 100 vacant positions.

"UNE is a vital public institution and the largest employer in the region, but it has been badly run for a long time," Dr Allen said.

"We need to employ more staff, reduce overwork, and re-establish traditions of democracy, transparency and accountability, in the interests of staff, students and the wider community."

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