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Mentally healthy workplaces

01 July 2013 - 31 July 2013

Media Release

The National Mental Health Commission has today launched a landmark Alliance to help create Australian workplaces that are mentally healthy.

The Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance is a collaborative partnership between business, the mental health sector and government. The Alliance is providing the business sector with practical guidance about mental health designed to drive sustainable changes in business culture and practices. It is also developing an evidence-based business case for promoting mentally healthy workplaces.

Founding members of the Alliance include the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australian Psychological Society, beyondblue, the Black Dog Institute, the Business Council of Australia, Comcare, the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia, the Mental Health Council of Australia, Safe Work Australia, SANE Australia and the University of New South Wales.

Prof. 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. 

“Mental illness costs the Australian economy over $20 billion a year, while recent research from SANE Australia highlights that the majority of people feel unsupported when mentally unwell, and less than half of managers (43 per cent) have an understanding of mental illness.

“With almost half of Australians likely to experience a mental illness in their lifetime, the importance of having mentally healthy workplaces cannot be overstated.

“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.

“Businesses that invest in mental health are also more productive, innovative and likely to recruit and retain the best and brightest people. That’s why the work of the Alliance, and support from the business community is so important.”
Jennifer Westacott, Chair of the Mental Health Council of Australia, and Chief Executive of the Business Council of Australia says:  “Apart from what good health means to individuals, having a healthy workforce is fundamental to the success of any business, large or small. Creating mentally healthy workplaces is an integral part of operating a productive and high performing business. It should not be seen as something additional for businesses to do.”

“Many businesses have already incorporated good practices regarding mental health and wellbeing into their operations, and a key part of the Alliance’s work is learning from and promoting these approaches so that other organisations can implement strategies relevant to them, and their workplace culture,” Prof. Fels continued.

As part of the project the Alliance is inviting all Australian businesses to share their experiences in promoting mental wellbeing. The Call for Good Practice is open to all business until 28 July at www.workplacementalhealth.com.au and will help inform the development of practical resources for businesses to be released later in the year. It will also complement the Alliance’s two other major projects:

• research by the University of New South Wales into evidence-based actions which contribute to creating mentally healthy workplaces; and
• a report by PwC on the return on investment for creating mentally healthy workplaces.

For more information on the work of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance please visit www.workplacementalhealth.com.au 

About the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance

The Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance was established by the National Mental Health Commission to bring together key stakeholders committed to creating mentally health workplaces. 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

• collaboration by stakeholders is key to achieving positive and sustainable change

The vision of the Alliance is that Australian workplaces take active steps to promote and create mentally healthy workplaces and fully realise the benefits to individuals, businesses and the community. The Alliance represents a commitment by its members to work collaboratively to provide practical guidance to workplaces to create mentally healthy workplaces, and a sustainable and measurable change in business practices. For more information please visit www.workplacementalhealth.com.au.

For more information please contact:
Ben Hornbrook
P: 0431 180 161
E: bhornbrook@boxingclever.net.au

"Even the most disadvantaged Australians should be able to lead a 'contributing life,' whatever that means for them and this simple goal will be our touchstone and yardstick."

Chair Prof Allan Fels AO
National Mental Health Commission

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