The world is becoming increasingly health conscious with the introduction of mandatory nutritional labeling, health initiatives within the community and workplace, policies and promotion. And if a recent report by Roy Morgan is anything to go by, Australia has certainly jumped aboard the health-conscious train!
June is alive with the sound of “health”. Not only does 16-21 June mark the World Congress’ annual Men’s Health Week, but June is dedicated to raising awareness for Bowel Cancer in Australia. And it’s all with due cause.
GQ staff participating in Bowel Cancer Australia’s ‘Red Apple Day’ on 17 June.
The Roy Morgan Report has revealed some useful facts about Australian health and its implications for health sector practitioners, primarily with regards to opportunities within the field.
The initiatives must be working!
The Australian Wellness Index reached a new peak in March 2015 after rising consecutively for 15 months. The key health areas that have signalled improvement include:
- Smoking health characterised by a decline in smoking rates over the last 2 years. This is the best performing health area.
- Nutrition Health marked by an improvement in nutrition.
- Alcohol health with a decrease in alcohol consumption.
- Activity health consisting of greater participation in physical and recreational activity.
- BMI Health characterised by a steadying of our National BMI.
- Medical Health subsisting of a declining incidence rate of severe and chronic illnesses.
While the overall health index has improved in 6 of the 7 key health areas, the National Psychological health score has suffered, experiencing an ongoing decline which started back in 2009.
Integrating a range of attitudes and occurrences of mental health issues, the score has revealed that young women aged 18-24 have experienced the greatest decline in psychological well-being driven by factors such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, stress, demanding schedules and decreased optimism about the future. However, it is important to note that while younger females are subject to experience some form of mental turmoil, men aged 35-49 are more likely than their younger counterparts to undergo psychological health issues.
Despite improvement in most key health areas, the decline in psychological health has opened up opportunities for practitioners within this sector. It will become increasingly important to counteract the drop in psychological health with a greater demand for mental health practitioners. This includes:
- Mental Health workers
The threat of psychological well-being, particularly in areas of anxiety, depression and stress will encompass the combined effort of professionals who offer mental health support, primarily psychologists, mental health workers, nurses, general practitioners and social workers who provide mental health related support.
Vacancies for mental health work have increased by 10.11% in recent years, with the demand for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers being expected to rise with the addition of 44,130 new jobs between 2015-2018.
- Youth workers
Affecting mainly young women aged 18-24, youth workers are also likely to experience a surge in demand, especially those working within educational institutions and community centers. The outlook for youth workers appears positive, with future employment growth being within the 10th decile, and expected level of future job openings above average (25,000 and 50,000 new jobs by 2018).
While a youth worker is not required to hold a qualification to carry out their work, an increasing number of employers, especially government agencies, require an appropriate qualification for employment. Holding a Certificate IV in Youth Work or a Diploma of Community Services Work might improve your chances of employment, while filling employer demands.
- Other opportunities in health
Although mental health is an area of key concern, it is not the only sector set to experience employment growth. Other health professions with noteworthy projections include Medical Imaging Professionals (31.9%), Occupational Therapists (36.6%), Anesthetists (30.6%), and Nurse Managers (21.6%).
If you don’t already have a qualification but possess the experience, why not achieve one of the following qualifications to acquire a healthy dose of job opportunities.