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Invest in mental health and reap the business benefits

Invest in mental health and reap the business benefits

With the Heads Up campaign in full swing, it’s a good time to remind business owners of the importance of a mentally healthy workplace and their role in creating one. The Heads Up campaign is a joint initiative between beyondblue and the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance and aims to raise awareness of mental health and promote wellbeing in the workplace. Heads Up has released some very interesting stats and figures that highlight the business argument for a mentally healthy workplace.

Recent PwC Australia research shows that for every $1 businesses invest in mental health, they should expect to see an average return of $2.30. The study looked at the impact of employees’ mental health conditions on productivity, participation and compensation claims. It found that these conditions cost Australian employers $10.9 billion a year. The bottom line is that if you’re not investing in mental health, you are losing money.

Mental health issues cost employers in sick days with one fifth of Australian workers having taken time off in the last year due to stress, anxiety, depression or feeling mentally unwell. This absenteeism is resulting in 12 million days of reduced productivity which amounts to a staggering $6 million lost each year.

Investing in mental health will also lead to higher staff retention rates. A recent TNS global study found that a mentally healthy workplace makes an employee more committed to their job and less likely to seek other employment. It also showed that almost half of the employees surveyed have left a workplace because it had a poor mental health environment.

The TNS study further emphasises the importance of a mentally healthy workplace with employees stating it was the second most important factor in their decision to accept a new job. However, only half believe their workplace is mentally healthy so there is obviously a lot of work still to be done to bridge this gap.

Although mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is everyone’s responsibility, business owners and leaders play an even more critical role. They have the capacity to influence colleagues and implement the necessary changes to work towards workplace wellbeing.

A mentally healthy workplace plays a huge role in retaining existing staff and attracting new staff. With younger workers who are more mental health aware join the workforce; it is set to be more significant in future. Some businesses may feel they are already doing enough with 81% of organisational leaders boasting their workplace has one or more policies, procedures or practices in place. But it isn’t enough to simply have these policies in place; employees need to be informed they exist. This study found that 35% of employees didn’t know these resources existed or didn’t believe they had access to them.

Now is a good time to take a look at the policies in your workplace. Are they sufficient? Are employees aware they exist? Are they making a difference? Perhaps you do have an EAP in place but it’s not being utilised, not making a difference to employees that need it.

Whether you have no policies in place or an ineffective EAP; we can implement an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in your workplace that will make a real difference, not just to employee wellbeing but also to your organisations bottom line.