New Partnership to Tackle Mental Health in the Workplace
20 February 2013 at 10:56 am
Mental health Not for Profit, beyondblue has formed a partnership with the Australian Workers Union (AWU) to tackle depression and anxiety in the workplace.
The partnership is being officially launched at the AWU national conference on the Gold Coast today.
AWU national secretary Paul Howes said that work-related mental illnesses imposed huge costs on both families and businesses.
“Mental illness is the second-most prevalent form of compensable illness in the workplace, and represents 4.8 per cent of all serious compensation claims,” Howes said.
“Too often people ignore the warning signs of mental illness and hope that it will just go away.
“There has been a long-standing culture of workers in blue-collar industries hiding difficulties and trying to just ‘tough it out’.
“It’s also been estimated that Australian workers without access to paid sick leave collectively lose around $85 million a year in income due to absence from depression.”
beyondblue says that posters and wallet cards that provide information on depression and anxiety and how to take action about mental health will be distributed to the union’s 140,000 members in workplaces around Australia.
Beyondblue Chief Executive Kate Carnell said she is proud to partner with one of Australia’s largest unions to create mental health-friendly conditions for workers across the country.
“Many blue collar workers have been under enormous stress recently as manufacturing and other industries undergo significant change,” Carnell said.
“If people are feeling down or stressed for a long time it can lead to depression or anxiety.
“When people take action and begin to feel better, they wonder why they didn’t act sooner.”
Paul Howes said the AWU would work with employers to raise awareness of mental health issues, so that people at risk could receive the help and assistance they need.
“The most important thing is to raise awareness of mental health issues, and to encourage more people to act when they see the warning signs,” Howes said.
“Once problems are identified, people need to understand how to respond appropriately – so those problems can be tackled effectively."
People who require more information or support are encouraged to visit beyondblue.org.au