In the past a stigma surrounding mental health made it difficult for people to turn up to work knowing the state of their mental health was given little consideration. However, as research and awareness continues to grow, so to has the supportive culture around mental health in the workplace.
Andrew Dempster, director of Health, Ageing and Human Services says it is important for employees to know it is okay to talk about having “off days” in the same way people talk about sick days.
“If people have the flu they stay home. There needs to be a similar discussion at senior levels of management that reinforces that to support people when they are having off days,” Mr Dempster said.
Leaders in business and advocacy groups such as Health, Ageing and Human Services, suggest that a culture change is integral to the health of employees and that a supportive workplace environment can contribute positively to the economy.
Mental illness affects 1 in 5 Australians each year, imposing a $60 billion cost burden on business productivity and taxpayer funded hospital services. KPMG report “Investing to Save” suggests a $4.4 billion investment by businesses and governments could provide a $12.7 billion return in long term annual savings for the economy.
Allowing employees to take a mental health ‘off day’ has been widely accepted in organisations across Australia and is continuously being advocated in order to improve the mental health of workers and prevent cost burdens on the economy.