Mental health in Australian companies continues to be a backburner issue, and is not being adequately addressed by organisations, according to a leading mental health charity.
Ignoring the issue comes in at an annual tab of $6.5 billion, and top-tier executives continue to keep their heads in the sand about just how prevalent the issue is among their workforce. Executive director of SANE Australia, Jack Heath, said too many company heads are not serious about addressing it. “People in the boardrooms of major Australian companies, who are often a bit older, are more reluctant to acknowledge mental health as an issue that needs to be addressed,” he said.
Heath said SANE has noted a growing awareness of mental health issues, but it’s coming from the bottom-up, and in order for change to really happen, it needs to be driven by the top.
A SANE survey of more than 500 workers recently found some 95% believe their employers are uneducated about the seriousness of mental illness and need additional training to manage ill workers. “A couple of very high-profile corporate executives have in the past week told me how they didn't think mental health was an issue and had a very dismissive view of mental illness,” Heath told Fairfax.
SANE has introduced a program called Mindful Employer, which teaches mid-level staff how to address the mental health of workers. For more information, click here.