Depression and anxiety have a significant economic impact; the estimated cost to the global economy is $US ONE TRILLION dollars per year in lost productivity.

World Health Organisation

The Case for A Mentally Healthy Workplace

Good Workplace Mental Health = Good Business

Return On Investment

The economic impact of introducing sound mental health practices is significant:

  •  Every $1 spent on scaled up treatment for common mental disorders yields a return of $4 dollars in improved health and productivity.  Ref:  World Health Organisation
  • Every $1 spent on workplace mental health yields close to a 500% return in improved productivity through increased work output and reduced sick and other leave.Ref: Hilton M, Assisting the Return on Investment of Good Mental Health Practices as cited in Cowan G, Best Practice in Managing Mental Health in the Workplace.
  • A leading Australian fire service, saves $3.6 million year on year as a direct result of the mental health initiatives it introduced a decade ago. Moreover, retention rates of fire fighters is higher and the workplace is connected by a whole new level of conversation.
  • Private sector companies are increasingly conducting their own analyses and learning from those who’ve been looking at the mental health equation for some time. In 2014 PWC found the impacts of workplace mental health are financially measurable and in 2017 Deloitte released a study Mental health and employers: The case for investment – the table on page 16, indicates that creating a mentally healthy workplace can result in a 9-1 return on investment.

Meeting Legal Obligations & Avoiding Industrial Disputes   

Legislation relevant to the management of mental illness in the workplace includes:

  • Work Health & Safety (WHS) legislation says employees have a duty of care to ensure their workers’ safety and requires safe workplaces that don’t cause ill health or aggravate existing conditions. This  includes psychosocial safety.   The NSW SafeWork Code of Practice: Managing Psychosocial Hazards At Work can be viewed here
  • Disability discrimination legislation states workplaces cannot discriminate against or harass workers with mental illness and that reasonable adjustments are required to meet the needs of workers with mental illness.
  • Privacy legislation requires employees to ensure personal information about a worker’s mental health status is not disclosed to anyone without the worker’s consent.
  • Commonwealth industrial law requires employees to ensure the workplace does not take any adverse action against a worker because of his or her mental illness.

Fewer Workers’ Compensation Claims 

There is a proven link between bad psychosocial safety and the time and cost involved in workers’ compensation and discrimination claims.

Higher Staff Retention & Loyalty  

It’s enjoyable to be in a workplace that is mentally fit, safe and healthy.

Lower Training Costs  

Lower staff turnover means lower training costs.

Less Absenteeism 

Mental illness, like any other sickness, sometimes requires days off to heal. Taking proactive steps to improve mental health among individual team members reduces sick leave. 

Embracing Diversity 

Successful businesses recognise the contributions that a diverse workforce makes, including workers with mental illness. Diverse skills, abilities and creativity offer new and innovative ways of addressing challenges and meeting the needs of a similarly diverse customer population.

Acknowledging Duty of Care 

Recognising the prevalence of mental health in Australia and fostering mental wellbeing in the workplace are important aspects of the ordinary courage culture and looking out for your team. Mental health conditions, in particularly depression and anxiety, are common. Work influences wellbeing so, given the amount of time people spend at work, it has an significant impact on mental heath. A culture of ordinary courage fosters higher morale, and lower stress levels among all team members. Wellbeing is a critical consideration for all workplaces – The Conversation explores why.