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Mental Health Focus in Aussie Workplaces - NFP Report

1 June 2015 at 11:35 am
Xavier Smerdon
New statistics reveal three-quarters of senior leaders in Australian business now realise good mental health should be a focus in workplaces.

Xavier Smerdon | 1 June 2015 at 11:35 am


Mental Health Focus in Aussie Workplaces - NFP Report
1 June 2015 at 11:35 am

New statistics reveal three-quarters of senior leaders in Australian business now realise good mental health should be a focus in workplaces.

A review of mental health Not for Profit, beyondblue’s Heads Up initiative one year on found  significant improvements have been made to mental health in Australian workplaces.

A new report from Social research agency TNS evaluated the impact of Heads Up, a joint initiative of beyondblue and the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance and found a significant improvement in attitudes towards mental health in more than 300 senior leaders and other managers of Australian businesses.

The report said the number of senior leaders who said they had information and materials about mental health at work rose to almost two-thirds, an increase of 29 per cent since the launch of Heads Up.

More than half (54 per cent) also said they believed their workplace ran mental health awareness training, also an increase of 29 per cent.

beyondblue Chairman Jeff Kennett said in the past year Heads Up had reached a significant proportion of senior leaders, with two in five reporting they were aware of the initiative.

“The aim of this very important initiative has been to reach senior leaders and decision makers in Australian businesses and let them know how important it is to make mental health a priority in their workplaces,” Kennett said.

“The Heads Up website is a ‘one-stop shop’ where business leaders can access credible and evidence-based information, resources and strategies to help them implement changes in their organisations.”

The report said one in five senior leaders and managers said they had implemented action plans after seeing the Heads Up initiative.

“We know that almost 3000 Heads Up Online Action Plans have been created with guidance from the Heads Up initiative, and expect the number of informal action plans in development to be even higher,” Kennett said.

Business Council Australia CEO, Jennifer Westacott, said the excellent outcomes of Heads Up show that businesses are increasingly understanding the economic and health benefits of mentally healthy workplaces.

“The return on investment is clear and now we know what works. Heads Up provides proven, practical tools and advice and can be adapted to all business types. Mentally healthier workplaces deliver for everyone – employees, employers, customers and shareholders,” Westacott said.

A PwC report commissioned by beyondblue last year found that for every $1 invested in effective mental health strategies, Australian businesses received an average return of $2.30.

The impact of employees’ mental health conditions cost Australian employers at least $10.9 billion a year.

Jetstar Australia and New Zealand CEO David Hall said Jetstar had implemented a Mental Health Action Plan across the organisation.

“Our involvement in the Heads Up initiative has helped put mental health at the forefront of our wellbeing program,” Hall said.

“We’re working hard to reduce the stigma around mental health by encouraging our teams to open up the lines of communication across the workforce.”

Since Heads Up was launched, beyondblue said the website has had more than 250,000 unique visitors and almost 7,000 online registrations for workplace mental health information.

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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