With 45% of Australians aged 16 to 65 expected to experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, workplace productivity could well be affected. Yet a report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers found that for every dollar spent creating a mentally healthy workplace, the organisation gains a $2.30 benefit.
During Mental Health Awareness Week (8-14 October) Red Cross is encouraging Australian businesses to give employee mental health the same priority as physical health and safety.
Janie McCullagh, Red Cross Mental Health Trainer, said: "With the investment being shown to deliver better productivity and profits, businesses are encouraged to provide early intervention and a supportive workplace culture to help reduce the impact of mental health issues."
"Employees with a healthy sense of self-esteem and wellbeing will take less days off work, will work better in teams and are less likely to make mistakes."
Eliza Flanagan, PETstock, Health, Safety & Wellbeing - Team Leader added that mental health training they've invested in is reaping rewards. "Mental health awareness and support for our staff has been top of mind for some time. We have implemented a number of initiatives across the organisation and mental health training with Red Cross was a natural progression."
"Our goal is to promote resilience with our PETstock people. We want to avoid a crisis situation by having staff trained so that they can notice the symptoms before they become significant," she said.
Many businesses find that during a performance review managers will be faced with a staff member explaining that challenges in their personal life are affecting their work.
"It's a lot of responsibility - you want to make the right decisions at the right time. We need our managers to be able to handle a situation like that with confidence and sensitively," said Eliza. "It is just as important as having staff trained in first aid."
Mental health training helps destigmatise the issue of mental health and encourages people to confidently raise any concerns they have. It equips managers to deal with issues in a positive, confident way.
Red Cross runs Mental Health Training courses (Mental Health Matters and Mental Health First Aid) which are delivered as workshops and can be customised to suit the workplace situation.
Mental Health Matters- Introduction session (1.5 hours); Half Day Workshop or Full Day Workshop
This training was designed by Red Cross for businesses wanting to create a mentally healthy workplace. Recognising the signs and symptoms of mental health and illness in the workplace and knowing how to provide support, benefits employees and can lead to a more productive business.
Mental Health First Aid - 2 Days
This mental health first aid course is designed for adults (18 years and over) who may work or have regular contact with adults who are developing a mental illness or experiencing a mental health crisis.
To book a course or get further information:
Training profits go towards Red Cross' wider work in the community, helping vulnerable people around Australia and overseas.
For further information or to organise an interview contact:
Australian Red Cross Media Adviser Jo Karabin
02 8234 3110 or 0481 408 827