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Mental health in the workplace - here’s what we know:

  • One in 5 Australians will experience a mental illness in any year

  • Almost half (47%) of Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime - this was before COVID19

  • 54% of people with a mental illness will not access any treatment - the proportion of people accessing help for mental illness is half that of people with physical disorders

  • One in 5 Australian workers is currently experiencing a mental health condition

  • Mental health can be brought into the workplace, or it can cause/be impacted by the workplace

  • Approximately $543 million is paid in workers compensation costs for work-related mental health conditions

  • Psychological safety is a legal requirement


The average time lost to a mental health claim is 15 weeks. The average time lost to all other claims is 5 weeks. You might have an EAP in place - but is your EAP proactive enough for mental health?

Usage rates of EAP’s in some industries are as little as 2-3% and average rates hover around 5-6%. Yet 20% of the community have a diagnosed depression or anxiety each year! The maths just doesn't add up here.


Based on current statistics 45% will have a diagnosed anxiety or depression over the course of a lifetime. Despite this, 54% of people with mental illness do not access any treatment. Clearly, REACTIVE models are NOT WORKING. The focus needs to be on PREVENTION.


Mental illness was a recognised risk for businesses before the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020. This risk has now escalated due to the impact of isolation and economic strain.


While mental health services play an important role in providing care across the population and are useful reference points to direct employees to, these services are dominated by reactive approaches. To limit the impact of mental illness on employees, it is clear that a “prevention” based approach is enormously preferable to reactive interventions.


The output of an organisation is highly dependent on the wellbeing of their employees. Therefore, implementing strategies to protect and build health is not only important, it makes very good business sense.


Don’t just focus on the portion of the workforce that are already actively looking after their health, but instead focus on those who need compelling reasons as to WHY they should take action to improve their health.


Are you being proactive or reactive when it comes to mental health?


A proactive company is better able to support their employees and promote good

mental health. A proactive company teaches their employees how they can reduce their

risk of poor mental health by implementing scientifically proven, lifestyle improvements or

learning more about their brain chemistry so they can optimise sleep, nutritional, recovery

and exercise strategies to prevent depression and anxiety and optimise mental fitness.


Consider this:

  • Just 30 minutes of exercise each day can prevent depression and anxiety by up to 30%.

  • You can reduce your risk of depression by 50% by following a healthy diet.


That is just two lifestyle changes that can be taught to your workforce as part of a proactive

approach to mental health.


Previous pandemics suggest that the mental health impacts of COVID-19 will be felt in

the months and years following the event, not just during the period of lockdown and

significant change. Research following the SARS epidemic showed a spike in suicide and

alcohol abuse after the outbreak. Immediately post-quarantine during the SARS outbreak

there were reports of exhaustion, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, depression, stress, poor concentration and deteriorating work performance. This highlights the importance

and need for a proactive approach to reduce these risks among your workforce.


A proactive approach to mental health at work focuses on eliminating problems and reducing the risk of poor mental health before it becomes an issue and starts to cost you money, lost productivity etc.

A reactive approach is based on responding to events after they have happened.

What do you think sounds better?


If you're ready to get proactive, talk to us today. We have a wide range of online and on-site programs, workshops and services available, including options that focus on reducing stigma.



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