Money really can't buy happiness, according to a new survey showing lawyers and other well-paid white-collar workers are more likely to suffer depression.
White collars suffer most depression
A national survey of more than 7500 professionals has found that almost one in 10 reported moderate to severe depressive symptoms.
The legal profession had the worst result, with almost 16 per cent reporting symptoms of clinical depression. Next were accountants and insurance underwriters, both on 10 per cent.
People in IT services, architecture and engineering also had depression rates above the average.
The survey conducted by Beyondblue, an organization devoted to fighting depression, also showed that those under 30 had the highest rates of depression and were the most likely to "self-medicate" with drugs and alcohol.
Beyondblue deputy chief executive and psychologist, Dr Nicole Highet, said the survey-the largest of its kind- was first to reveal the extent of the problem.
"We often associate depression with the most socially disadvantaged (and) people under financial pressure, but here's a whole different group," Dr Highet said.
She said while it was difficult to know exactly what made some groups more prone to depression, it was likely to be driven by work pressures.
"It seems, with law in particular, there's a problem with employee expectations and their working reality," Dr Highet said.
"People base their whole identities on being successful in their role and when it doesn't live up to expectations, and they fail to keep a work-life balance, that impacts on their mental health."
Among female lawyers, the average age of first pregnancy was 39, "reflecting the all-or-nothing pressure that the sector places on individuals", she said.
Law Institute of Victoria chief executive Michael Brett Young said the survey supported anecdotal evidence that depression was a growing problem.
"Our message is no one should feel ashamed about being stressed," Mr Young said.
"Ask for help from your colleagues rather than suffer in silence."