Addressing the Stigma of Mental Health in the Workplace
Promoting mental health in the workplace benefits everyone; we all have a role to play in looking after our own mental health and in creating a mentally healthy workplace.
Brief snapshot of mental illness in Australia
- In each year, approximately one in every five Australians will experience a mental illness.
- About 4% of people will experience a major depressive episode in a 12-month period, with 5% of women and 3% of men affected.
- Approximately 14 % of Australians will be affected by an anxiety disorder in any 12-month period.
- About 3% of Australians are affected by psychotic illness; such as schizophrenia, where there is a loss of contact with reality during episodes of illness.
- Prevalence of mental illness decreases with age, with prevalence greatest among 18-24 year olds.
- Many violent people have no history of mental disorder and most people with mental illness (90%) have no history of violence.
With these facts in mind it becomes increasingly important for employers to understand and support their employees and to consider that the people they employ are likely to have experienced mental illness at some point.
The Case for having a Mentally Healthy Workplace
Businesses that actively promote good mental health attract and retain top talent because they’re great places to work. By supporting people with mental health conditions and encouraging openness, employers create diverse and inclusive workplaces.
- Untreated mental health conditions cost Australian employers $10.9 billion every year through absenteeism, reduced productivity and compensation claims.
- A mentally unhealthy workplace fosters poor morale and staff engagement, high staff turnover and potential penalties for breaches of work health and safety legislation.
Maintaining a Mentally Healthy Workplace
Everyone has a role to play in creating a mentally healthy workplace, and there are supports available to employers to assist in managing employees who may be experiencing mental illness. CHESS Connect has several services designed to help employers to create inclusive and supportive workplaces that support mental wellness and recovery.
CHESS Connect provides free Disability Employment Services (DES) funded through the Federal Government. Work Assist is a service delivered through the DES program that helps employers support employees who are experiencing difficulty maintaining their performance because of an illness, injury or disability – including mental health conditions.
With Work Assist you can access tailored job support and funding for your employee at no cost to you.
Through DES CHESS Connect can also provide free training and information to existing workers and employers by providing resources for taking care of yourself and others in the workplace. We can also help employers and jobseekers access a range of other financial supports and incentives, such as assistive technology, mental health first aid training and disability and deafness awareness training, Auslan interpreting and wage subsidies.
Mentally Healthy Workplace Workshops
Our Mentally Healthy Workshops help employers to collaborate with staff to educate and promote a culture of positive mental wellness in the workplace. We’ve used our 20+ years’ experience in both mental health recovery and employment to develop a strategic workshop, specially designed to support mental wellness in local workplaces.
Our workshops are unique to your business, specifically tailored to address the needs of your organisation.
Together we can build informed and inclusive workplaces that understand and openly address the subject of mental illness.