Leaving mental health issues unaddressed is far more likely to cause real problems. In fact, beyondblue found that untreated mental health conditions cost Australian workplaces approximately $10.9 billion each year. This is made up of $4.7 billion in absenteeism, $6.1 billion in presenteeism and $146 million in compensation claims.
With the additional knowledge that almost half (45%) of Australians will suffer from legitimate mental health issues at some point in their lives, it seems that – despite concerns – addressing employee wellbeing is important and inevitable.
If we find it easy to talk about work performance, why can’t we talk about mental health and staying well at work comfortably? We’re suggesting an overarching shift in the way we approach mental health in the workplace.
A key issue facing organisations which aim to develop a mentally healthy workplace is the disconnect between a leader’s and an employee’s perception of mental health initiatives – whilst 71% of leaders felt that they were committed to promoting the mental health of staff, only 37% of employees agree.
More concerning is the finding that, whilst 57% of leaders felt that they had engaged with employees to provide input into the planning, implementation and review of mental health programs in the workplace, only 25% of employees agreed!
Caring for staff, giving adequate support and cultivating premium health outcomes through communicative and positive environments will increase the mental health of the workforce.
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