Australians want 'mentally healthy' workplaces

Wed 18 June 2014

AND has previously reported that the cost to Australian businesses of ignoring mental health issues in the workplace is approximately $10.9 billion per year. This is a combination of the costs of absenteeism, presenteeism (where people are less productive due to a mental health condition), and compensation claims. It is estimated that over six million working days are lost each year in Australia due to untreated depression.

A new study by TNS Global has found that Australian employers are failing when it comes to creating mentally healthy workplaces.

The study, commissioned by beyondblue, found that 91% of people surveyed say that it is important to work in a mentally healthy workplace, yet only 52% of respondents believe that their workplace is mentally healthy. 21% of respondents say that they have taken time off for stress, anxiety or depression in the last 12 months.

Effective workplace initiatives focusing on mental health have been shown to have a positive impact on business, with every $1 invested returning $2.30 to the economy, through decreased absenteeism and presenteeism.

The results of this study are further evidence that creating mentally healthy workplaces can have positive effects. 65% of respondents say that they respect managers who value mental health in the workplace, and respondents who say they work in mentally healthy workplaces are four times less likely to take time off work for mental health conditions.

beyondblue and the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance (MHWA) have partnered to deliver Heads Up, a workplace program that aims to guide business leaders towards implementing an action plan for promoting good mental health in the workplace. By registering for Heads Up, employers can access tools and resources to develop their own Heads Up action plan, and work towards creating a mentally healthy workplace.

For more information and to access the Heads Up action plan and tools visit www.headsup.org.au.

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