Employees urge greater mental health investment

Workplace mental health is still a work in progress for Australia, with one in four employees experiencing a high level of stress at their current job and one in five of those saying they would leave within the next 12 months.

According to a SuperFriend report, Indicators of a Thriving Workplace, it was senior managers who reported the highest levels of job stress, and nearly half experienced stigma in the workplace around mental health and wellbeing. The most common group for this was 18-24 year olds.

This culminated in the national workplace health and wellbeing index being 65 out of 100 for the year, with the report suggesting work needed to be done on improving workplace wellbeing.

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“Job stress and the stigma that people are currently experiencing means we’re still on the journey,” SuperFriend chief executive, Margo Lydon, said.

“We spend such a significant amount of time at work throughout our lifetime. Experiences at work contribute to both our identity and wellbeing. It’s crucial that employers and employees work collaboratively to take a preventative approach to achieving a mentally healthy workplace to ensure all workers to thrive, whether they are experiencing a mental health condition or not.”

Almost a third of respondents to the report’s survey believed that their employers were “too busy to take action”, of which 51 per cent said there were more important business issues to address and 47 per cent felt there was nobody responsible for taking action.

Despite this, employers stood to benefit from investing in mental health and wellbeing, with 64 per cent of respondents believing that it would improve productivity and 55 per cent saying it would reduce sickness and absenteeism. In light of the report’s above findings about employees intending to leave work, employers could heed the fact that half of workers believe such an investment would improve retention.

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