Awareness of mental illness may have increased, but Australian businesses are still failing to recognise and manage mental health risk in the workplace, according to new research.
According to a poll of ASX Top 300 companies, 40 percent of businesses do not perceive mental illness as a potential risk to their company. It is alarming knowing that almost 50 per cent of Australians will experience a mental health issues at some stage in their life, says SANE Australia.
Of those that did understand the risk, almost half admitted that their organisation did not have effective policies in place as part of their workplace health program to manage this risk.
To create a mentally healthy workforce, it’s important to work on building a supportive environment where staff feel valued and able to express any difficulties they may be having balancing their workloads.
Skills and resources to help them manage their time and address challenges positively should be made available through initiatives such as life/health coaching, and organisational work-life balance policies such as flexible working hours and job sharing should be put into practice where necessary. Offering Mentally Healthy seminars and booklets as part of your workplace health and wellness program can also help educate and empower your staff on this difficult topic.
Physical changes to the work environment such as a quiet relaxation room or a corporate gym where staff can take stress busting breaks can also make huge improvements to mental health, as can broader physical activity initiatives that will help employees to cope better with pressures at work.
By improving the overall wellbeing of your employees through appropriate corporate health initiatives, you can create a mentally healthy workplace where your staff is happier and more resilient, and organisational productivity thrives.