NSW holds summit for mental health

Employers have the duty to foster a workplace environment conducive to mental well-being

NSW holds summit for mental health
One hundred thirty individuals – mental health experts and representatives from government, business and labour – gathered Wednesday as the New South Wales government hosted the Mentally Healthy Workplaces Summit.

Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said input from the summit will inform a government strategy to enable NSW businesses to reduce the causes, impact and severity of mental health in workplaces across NSW.

“One in six working-age people suffer from mental illness across Australia,” he said. “It’s clear more needs to be done to understand and address the important issue.”

Kean said recent NSW government-commissioned research showed that less than 25% of businesses have measures that specifically address mental health.

Meanwhile, Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies said the government is committed to improving mental health across NSW.

“With one third of adult life spent at work, the workplace can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health,” she said.

“Strengthening prevention and early intervention supports is a critical part of our comprehensive approach to improving mental health in our cities, rural areas and regional centres.”

Mental health issues spare no one. Louise Duboise from Sydney, for instance, has been working in  the field of organisational health and mental health for more than 25 years.

Despite her expertise, Duboise experienced a period of severe mental illness where she needed hospital care and other treatment before recovering and returning to work.

“Mental illness does not discriminate, and I believe that businesses that invest in workplace mental health can improve productivity and, most importantly, worker’s health,” she said.

Ms Dubois joined the summit, where she emphasised her belief that businesses should promote health and practice a healthy management style as part of their workplace culture.

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