But what about the mental health of our teams?
- 45% of Australians between the ages of 6 and 85 will experience a mental health condition.
- Untreated mental health costs the Australian economy $10.9 billion per year.
- $4.7 billion in absenteeism.
- $6.1 billion in presenteeism (unfit for work yet still attending)
- $146 million in compensation claims
These are some large numbers which help explain why, in Australian workplaces, work related psychological injuries have become a major focus. Both the negative impact on the employee, and the associated costs effecting businesses due to the long periods of absence that are typical with mental health issues need to be managed.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
To be clear, employers and employees alike have responsibilities when it comes to work health and safety duties. Under Work Health Safety legislation, the general principle that employers must adhere to is that as far as is reasonably practicable, they must provide a working environment that is safe and without risks to health. This extends to the psychological health of their employees.
Conversely, employees also have a duty to take reasonable care of their own health and safety and not adversely affect the health and safety of others. Again, this responsibility covers mental health. The challenge though is in ensuring your team seek help if and when they need it.
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
Beyond Blue’s State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia survey revealed that employees were least likely to go to Human Resources for support. So as an employer, how do you help those suffering if they don’t want to approach anyone within the business when they need help? Aside from their own medical practitioners, there are some incredible support services available that you can promote within your business. These include:
- Lifeline – 13 11 14
Depression & Anxiety
- Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636
GP Health Plan
- Speak to your own GP for a mental health plan.
- Not To Violence – 1300 766 491
Alcohol & Drugs
- Directline – 1800 888 236
- National Debt Helpline – 1800 007 007
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?
Creating an open and supportive culture is important. Allowing all team members to understand that you take seriously the needs of the employees and that you have systems and processes in place to manage work loads and contributing stress factors. A commitment to publicised and accessible policies and procedures ensure your team know that they will not be ostracised if they require mental health support. Importantly, ensuring your employees know where they can source confidential assistance is a huge step in letting them know you take mental health seriously.
Please click below to access a free download with a poster you can pop in your workplace providing your employees with information on support services available, and don’t hesitate to contact us if we can provide further support to you or your managers.