Creating a workplace that’s positive towards your employees’ mental health is simply the right thing to do.
Every business has a legal responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace. This includes both physical and mental health; occupational health and safety involves psychological injury prevention.
One in five adults will experience mental health difficulties, yet prejudice and discrimination are still significant barriers that deprive people of their dignity. To make dignity in mental health a reality requires every member of society to work together. It requires action in the community and, importantly, in the workplace.
A recent report by Superfriend (2019) noted that Stigma around mental health issues has not improved at a national level over the last two years, with the latest research showing that 13 per cent of Australian workers have experienced this stigma in their current workplace.
There is an abundance of research to demonstrate that education and training about mental health and wellbeing has a positive impact in breaking down many of these barriers
It is vital to have the voices of leading companies and organisations, policymakers and community leaders spread awareness that help employees and employers better understand mental health, reduce stigma and foster a safe, open and supportive workplace environment.
The Superfriend study also revealed that half of all Australian workers have experienced a mental illness – and 43 per cent of those say their workplace caused it.
Research also show that employers who invest in mentally well workplaces would see a reduction in sickness and absence, along with increased productivity and higher retention.
Not only are the human benefits of investing in employee’s mental wellbeing a must in making a positive difference to the lives of Australian workers, the economic benefits are also clear, with research indicating a $4.20 return for every $1 invested in workplace mental health.
I call on all CEO’s and leaders to
- Provide employees with education about how they can support self-care and wellbeing from the day they enter the organisation.
- Provide training for all employees in mental health workplace awareness. Make this part of your induction plan.
- Embed mental wellness into a broader workplace health and safety plan
- Address any negative attitudes and prejudice associated with mental ill-health in the workplace.
- Create a workplace culture based on trust, authenticity and partnership.
- Empower individuals and employers to take actions that promote mental well-being.
- Provide an Employee Assistance Program or other appropriate referral resources to assist managers and employees
- Monitor and seek feedback from employees regularly.
Director Mentally Well Workplaces
Career Development Centre Pty Ltd