Workplace Initiative Targets Mental Health
13 April 2017 at 3:38 pm
The Victorian government has launched a $50 million initiative targeting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.
The government initiative empowers bosses to make mental health a priority in the workplace including not-for-profit workplaces.
WorkHealth was developed by a special advisory group including government, business and union representatives.
The new program will be an extension of the current WorkHealth program (addressing physical health in the workforce) and will include an interactive online platform that will act as a go-to site for businesses to access advice, research and support on workplace mental health and wellbeing.
The program allows employers to conduct a mental health check on their business, employ specially tailored support programs and link like-minded businesses together.
The government said WorkHealth also included a $17 million innovation fund to kickstart new initiatives and expand existing workplace mental health and wellbeing programs.
The program was launched on Tuesday at the Arts Centre Melbourne, which currently leads the Arts Wellbeing Collective – a consortium working to achieve better mental health outcomes for creative industries workers.
Government statistics show that mental health continues to be a significant concern in the community, with WorkSafe Victoria recording more than 3,100 mental disorder claims in 2016, or about 12 per cent of total claims.
WorkSafe will fund and manage the five-year WorkHealth program, with the assistance of the Department of Health and Human Services.
WorkHealth advisory group chairman and Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper told Pro Bono News: “We have drawn on a broad range of expertise and experience to design WorkHealth, and we are confident it will make a real difference to the lives of Victorian workers including those in the not-for-profit sector.
“One of the things that was clear was that the WorkHealth brand was trusted by workplaces as an independent and reliable source of information so we think that it will provide a convenient and trusted platform for workplaces to look at how they can be promoting the health of their employees.
“There has been a real shift in the last five years with workplaces increasingly recognising a need to be protecting and promoting the health of their employees.
“It not only helps in terms of the engagement of the workplace and the productivity and morale of employees but increasingly Australian workplaces want to know that the strategies they are putting in place are the right ones. A platform like this will give them the confidence that they are doing the right thing for their employees.
“I think in the not-for-profit sector we face a lot of the similar challenges about our most valuable assets – the employees who work for us and how we can keep them healthy, happy and productive is a really important challenge for everyone working in the sector.
“I think the sector realises that, and at a time when resources can be constrained and we are looking for the best value programs and practices to look after the health of our employees I think this program will be a great asset.”