Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance – a new, national approach for dealing with depression and anxiety in the workplace

Mental health first aidJuly 2013 – Workplaces across the country will significantly increase their focus on better mental health with the creation of an Australian-first alliance to drive change in business culture and practice.

The Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance brings together mental health advocates, business representatives and government agencies in a partnership committed to improving mental health among Australian workers.

Offically launched in the first week of July, the Alliance aims to provide the business sector with practical guidance about mental health designed to drive sustainable changes in business culture and practice, and is developing an evidence-based business case for promoting mentally healthy workplaces. Founding members include Safe Work Australia, beyondblue, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australian Psychological Society, the Black Dog Institute, the Business Council of Australia, Comcare, the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia, the Mental Health Council of Australia, SANE Australia and the University of New South Wales.

Research shows that depression in the workplace costs Australia more than $12 billion a year in lost production and job turnovers. This is reflective of an environment where for too long governments and businesses have failed to recognise that good mental health in the workplace is just as important as physical safety.

Professor Allan Fels, Chair of the National Mental Health Commission says the Alliance wants all Australian workplaces to be taking active steps to create mentally healthy workplaces and fully realise the benefits to individuals, businesses and the community.

“Mentally healthy workplaces prevent harm to the mental health of their people, make sure people who experience mental health difficulties are supported, and have positive cultures that are conducive to mental wellbeing.”

Alliance members acknowledge that:

  • mentally healthy workplaces contribute to the mental health of all Australians
  • mentally healthy workplaces result in increased productivity and other benefits to businesses, and
  • collaboration by stakeholders is key to achieving positive and sustainable change.

The Alliance’s vision is for all Australian workplaces take active steps to create mentally healthy workplaces and fully realise the benefits to their people, their business and the community.

The Alliance has launched a call for good practice and we will use the information gathered through this and other work to develop practical, national resources for businesses for release later in the year.

To find out more, or to get involved, check out the The Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance website: http://www.workplacementalhealth.com.au


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