UNMET NEEDS IN WORKPLACE MENTAL WELLBEING –
DO YOU KNOW WHERE THE CHALLENGES ARE?
Based on our CRC bid team’s collective research insights, we know that the unmet needs in workplace mental wellbeing occur across a range of areas, including social, economic and political spheres.
Read below to learn more about the challenges in workplace mental wellbeing today, and learn why our research consortium is passionate about building cutting-edge solutions to tackle these pressing issues.
Social factors underlying workplace mental wellbeing challenges
- ~1 in 2 Australians will be affected with a mental health condition across their lifetimes;
- 1 in 5 Australian adults will experience a mental illness in any given year. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (NSMHWB)
- Approximately 13 million Australians are currently employed. This makes workplaces an ideal setting for a novel preventive health program which reaches a large section of the population. Programs that support mental wellbeing will have productivity and health impacts that benefit workplaces and workers.
- These workplace wellbeing and mental health challenges often occur during an individual’s prime working years.
- Stigma and discrimination can impede help-seeking, and it is not at all clear if stigma-reduction programs are working or the extent to which they do.
- Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health conditions experienced by people in Australia, and tend to affect people during their prime working years (16 to 64 years).
Workplace mental wellbeing and psychological injury mitigation is a highly prevalent problem in Australia. Social factors contribute significantly to the challenges.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007, Table 1. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS.
- One in five Australian workers is currently experiencing a mental health condition. TNS (2014). State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia. Melbourne: Beyond Blue.
- Social isolation and exclusion can lower productivity and overall resilience. 1 in 2 Australians (51%) report they feel lonely for at least 1 day each week Australian Psychological Society 2018.
- The problems with workplace mental wellbeing are compounded for women, or those in minority groups, workforces in transition and others who face inclusion challenges at work.
Economic factors relating to workplace mental wellbeing challenges, and an opportunity to do something better
- Mental wellbeing challenges have a clear economic repercussion.
- Absenteeism and presenteeism present annual costs of $17 billion to the Australian economy.
- In addition, the Productivity Commission has also revealed that the overall cost of mental ill health to the Australian economy is approx. $200 billion annually.
- Turnover costs can be extensive for businesses. Staff turnover costs approx. 6 – 9 months of salary. This can be expensive and unsustainable for business growth in the long run.
- Workplace-related mental health claims costs are steadily rising, and the compensation system is struggling to keep up with demand.
- The cost of workplace mental health injuries is up 80% over the last three years, in addition, new Allianz research reveals 4 in 5 Australian employees want workplaces to double down on mental health initiatives
- COVID-19 has heightened workplace mental wellbeing challenges in part due to significant adjustments to our working lives and this also has broad economic impacts on the workforce. Isolation and loneliness have grown, and along with that there is a looseness to our ability to be well-networked and part of successful communities at work – this has productivity impacts.
Political factors associated with workplace mental wellbeing challenges – why this is an important policy issue that we need to address now
- Political factors associated with workplace mental wellbeing challenges – why this is an important policy issue that we need to address now
- Workplace wellbeing and mental health are key items on the national agenda and it is important to address them from a range of perspectives.
- Particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has heightened the challenges of working sustainably in new settings. Faced with an extensive loss of employment and social interaction, and stressors such as moving to remote work, many Australians have experienced widespread stress, confusion and anger (AIHW).
- There is an impetus to address these issues, and a number of important strategic enquiries have identified the need to work collaboratively to harness new innovations in this area, including via the research consortium approach.
- The recent Productivity Commission on Mental Health Inquiry and the Victorian Royal Commission on Mental Health reflect the importance of these issues on the national agenda. Suicide prevention has been identified as a key national priority.
- 8 precious lives are lost in Australia each day, as a result of suicide, representing a significant loss to our community. Supporting people to remain in states of wellbeing and productivity at work will enable them to thrive, and support Australia’s goals of Zero suicides. DIVERS