The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics survey on mental health of ages from 16 to 85 showed that 20% of Australians experienced anxiety, depressive, or substance use disorders. Just reflect on that.
1 in 5 people experience a diagnosable mental health disorder in any year.
It is not surprising that there is growing awareness of the duty of care requirements on workplaces in assisting people who experience a mental health disorder. To assist our clients, The H Factor have developed a sample Mental Health and Wellness policy.
There are number of things employers must consider in this area:
The H Factor draft policy incorporates all of these areas, and your H Agent can also assist you to tailor each area to your particular business situation.
There is a lot of misinformation and stigma about mental health disorders. Increasingly, employers of all sizes are recognising that they have an important role to play in raising awareness of the correct approach to dealing with mental health disorders, and in removing the stigma associated with them.
Some practical tips that are relevant to assisting people with a mental health condition are:
Most people who receive appropriate help recover from a mental health condition.
Employers are required to make reasonable adjustments to a person's work arrangements during a persons treatment and/or recovery period.
Headsup, by Beyond Blue, have some useful information for employers here and a helpful guide for for helping a work mate here. This is a good starting point for understanding the workplace issues.
Workplaces have long recognised the need for designated first aid officers, who are appropriately trained to respond to physical injury or a health crisis. We recommend that employers also consider having a designated mental health first aid officer in their workplace. Accredited training is provided by Mental Health First Aid Australia, a not for profit organisation that provides evidence based accreditation courses on mental health first aid.
There is a wide range of support and information available. We recommend that every employer have clear policies and procedures in the area of mental health.
Beyond the duty of care that arises in employment situations, it is a good business decision to have clear policies and procedures in the area of mental health and well being.
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