Improving mental health in the workplace has been highlighted by WorkSafe as part of their 10 year strategic plan. This is in line with the obligation PCBU’s have under the Health & Safety at Work Act 2011, but many businesses aren’t addressing this area of concern.
According to insurance law firm Wotton & Kearney, the insurance space is far from doing enough to support its staff in coping with mental health issues.
In a recent article from Insurance Business, Wotton & Kearney partner Antony Holden said,
“When it comes to addressing mental health in the workplace, we can all do much better. Law firms in particular have dealt with some well-publicised issues around how we can improve people’s wellbeing at work.”
Workplace stress and anxiety has risen by almost 30% across businesses since 2016, and over 40% of staff will come to work while sick, according to a survey conducted last year by Southern Cross Health Society.
Despite these figures and the increasing focus from WorkSafe, most workplaces have yet to acknowledge the impact poor mental health and overworking is having on its staff. The full scope of the often unmentioned issue is yet to be revealed.
Not only does mental health have an impact on the lives of the individuals who are suffering, it also has an economic impact.
According to the World Health Organisation, it’s estimated that the direct and indirect costs of mental health exceeds 4% of GDP, and can lead to reduced workplace productivity, increased staff turnover, increased use of sick days, and can lead to an employee taking action against an employer, causing financial impact and damaged reputation.
GB’s Steve Hartwig, Workplace Psychologist/Mental Health Consultant, says,
“At GB, we understand that the mental health of our people is paramount, and we are continually striving to create a work environment that supports our staff to feel and perform at their best."
"Mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is an area we are continuing to grow."
Taking steps towards improving the mental health of workers not only ensures businesses are meeting their legal obligations, it can also improve their bottom line.
Mental health is ultimately a resource that exists in all employees. Just like physical health, it needs to be taken care of in order to reduce risk of injury, illness and suffering, but also to increase potential in individuals and teams.
High levels of positive mental health lead to positive life outcomes for employees and better business results.
GB recently sponsored the inaugural Head to Head Fundraising Walk. The walk raised awareness of police mental health, as well as much needed funding for former members who are unable to access the same level of support as those still serving with the Victoria Police.