Creating workplaces where employees take the mental health of their staff as seriously as physical health and safety has benefits for everyone, a new report commissioned by beyondblue reveals.
One in five Australian workers experiences mental illness such as depression or anxiety. The PricewaterhouseCoopers research found that this costs Australian businesses at least $10.9 billion a year, due to absenteeism, reduced productivity and compensation claims. If companies were to invest in effective workplace mental health strategies, however, they could gain an average return of $2.30 for every $1 spent.
Some possible strategies could include things like exercise programs and resilience training. ”Many business leaders don’t know how to help those who are struggling with a mental health condition,” says Georgie Harman, beyondblue chief executive. ”These people continue to face discrimination and do not get the same support that people with physical conditions receive.”
Beyondblue is now urging businesses to support its ‘Heads Up’ campaign about the importance of mental health in the workplace. The message, they say, is simple: “If you’re not investing in mental health – you’re losing money.”
The cornerstone of the campaign, which is funded by the federal Department of Health and run in collaboration with the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance, is the Heads Up website. This online resource hub provides information and advice for employers about promoting mental health in the workplace. From mid-June it will allow employers to create customised mental health action plans for their business, which they can then use to monitor their business’ progress.
Supporting mental health in the workplace makes for better business all round, new research by beyondblue and PricewaterhouseCoopers shows.