The importance of mentally healthy workplaces

Sad worker

Businesses that ignore mental health in their workplace are missing out on significant gains. This was the message delivered by beyondblue’s Workplace Engagement Manager Michael O’Hanlon at a forum hosted by WorkCover Queensland.

Michael told the forum that being mentally healthy is a good for both businesses and workers.

He shared advice with construction and mining business representatives on how to create a mentally healthy workplace and the benefits they could expect if they made a commitment to improving the mental health of their employees.

“Mental health is a good news story. It offers improved productivity, safety and return on investment, so why would you say no?” he said.

Michael pointed out that poor mental health is likely to affect one in five employees, and the cost of untreated mental health conditions to Australian business is $10.9 billion each year. This includes:

  • presenteeism (the employee is at work, but not really productive) costs of $6.1 billion
  • absenteeism costs of $4.7 billion
  • compensation claims of $145.9 million.

“Even if you haven’t had a workers’ compensation claim, people’s untreated mental health conditions still affect your business through absenteeism and presenteeism,” he said.

Yet for every $1 invested in mental health initiatives, there’s an average return on investment of $2.30.

beyondblue advocates that mentally healthy workplaces:

  • have a positive workplace culture
  • minimise workplace risks related to mental health
  • support people with mental health conditions appropriately
  • reduce stigma and discrimination.

The Heads Up program

Michael described the Heads Up program as essentially a one stop shop for everything to do with mental health in the workplace.

“The Heads Up website is a central point online for business, and for everyone in the workplace, including leaders, staff and HR. It also recognises that small businesses are different to larger businesses,” he said.

Information resources on the Heads Up website include:

  • Creating a mentally healthy workplace
  • Taking care of yourself at work
  • Supporting others in the workplace
  • Rights and responsibilities
  • Training and resources.

To create a mentally healthy workplace, beyondblue’s Heads Up website can help you identify key areas in an Action Plan tailored to your business.  

More information

Heads up website

Michael’s presentation – Creating a mentally healthy workplace

Forum gives employers useful mental health tools

The mental health forum was hosted by WorkCover Queensland. For more information on upcoming events, please visit our events page.

Last updated
01 July 2015