Mental health in the workplace

Mental health in the workplace: the facts and figures

With one in five Australians currently experiencing a mental health issue, becoming a mentally healthy workplace - that is, one that protects and promotes mental health and encourages those experiencing difficulties such as depression and anxiety to seek help - should be a top priority for your organisation.

Why should you invest in mental health?

There are two major reasons employers should see mental health investment as compulsory:

1. It will save your business money

The lack of paying attention to the mental health of employees and building a mentally healthy workplace culture and the cost of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses, is costing business almost $11 billion a year. 

Those costs hit your business in three ways: the smallest is workers compensation claims, the next is absenteeism and, interestingly, the largest cost is presenteeism, as mental stress and mental health issues are a major driver of presenteeism. According to independent research conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, for every $1 invested in building a mentally healthy workplace, you will see a return of, on average, $2.30.

2. Fostering a positive workplace culture

Investing in mental health in the workplace puts your organisation at an advantage to retain the best and brightest employees, as research indicates one-third of employees consider a mentally healthy workplace to be an important factor in deciding who they will work for.

How to invest in mental health in the workplace:

There is no one size fits all solution to creating or enhancing a mentally healthy workplace, but there are some common factors that can be applied to any business.

1. Start at the top – Cultural change needs to flow from the top down in organisations to ensure mental health in the workplace is valued as an important factor in day-to-day business.

2. Consider the stress risk factors within your industry - There may be day-to-day stressors that are impacting upon your employees’ mental wellbeing that you need to identify in order to assist their coping strategies. Are there things you can do to mitigate that risk? Think practically: what changes can you implement that will reduce the number of stress claims, sick days and employees not being productive at work.

3. Seek expert assistance - SuperFriend offers resources and a range of evidence based programs including Wellbeing Works, Managing Bereavement, Grief and Loss, Teamtopia, SuperFit Mates and Mental Health and Wellbeing Training, which are designed to improve employee mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

The Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance (of which, SuperFriend is a proud member) and beyondblue's  Heads Up initiative also provides online assistance for employers, helping you to identify what you can do to become a mentally healthy workplace and practical tips for implementing those ideas.

If you would like more information about how your organisation can access SuperFriend’s suite of workplace mental health and wellbeing programs and resources, contact your local Regional Manager