Initiative to Create Mentally Healthy Workplaces
8 July 2013 at 11:43 am
Workplaces have been urged to share their strategies on creating a ‘mentally healthy’ workplace culture as part of a national initiative launched to improve mental health in the workplace.
The program is a collaboration with the Black Dog Institute, the National Mental Health Commission and the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance (MHWA) and aims to develop an economic case for improving mental health in the workplace and provide employers with practical guidance to drive sustainable changes in business culture and practice.
University of NSW and Black Dog Institute researcher Dr Sam Harvey is implementing the research and review component of the MHWA and is encouraging workplaces to discuss what has and hasn’t worked for them.
“Many businesses have already incorporated good practices regarding mental health and wellbeing into their operations,” Harvey said.
“A key part of the Alliance’s work is learning from and promoting these approaches so that other
organisations can implement strategies relevant to them, and their workplace culture.”
Chair of the National Mental Health Commission Professor Allan Fels said the Alliance wanted all Australian workplaces to be taking active steps to create mentally healthy workplaces.
“Mental illness costs the Australian economy over $20 billion a year,” he said.
“With almost half of Australians likely to experience a mental illness in their lifetime, the importance of having mentally healthy workplaces cannot be overstated.
“Mentally healthy workplaces prevent harm to the mental health of their people, make sure people who experience mental health difficulties are supported, and have positive cultures that are conducive to mental wellbeing.
Professor Fels said businesses that invest in mental health were also more productive, innovative and likely to recruit and retain the best and brightest people.
“That’s why the work of the MWHA and support from the business community is so important,” he said.
The MHWA includes Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australian Psychological Society, beyondblue, Black Dog Institute, the Business Council of Australia, Comcare, the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia, the Mental Health Council of Australia, Safe Work Australia, SANE Australia and the University of New South Wales.
The MHWA Call for Good Practice is open to all businesses until July 28, 2013 and will help inform the development of practical resources for businesses to be released later in the year. Visit www.workplacementalhealth.com.au to make a submission and learn more.