Mental health crisis: Inside Australia’s silent epidemic

Overlooking the country’s mental health crisis can have dire consequences

Mental health crisis: Inside Australia’s silent epidemic

The stress and strain of modern life can exacerbate the condition of workers already dealing with anxiety and depression.

But amid the increasing stress Australians face week to week, some employees feel “uncomfortable” opening up about their mental health, according to data from ADP.

More than three in five workers experience work-related stress on a weekly basis, yet 28% are reluctant to reach out to colleagues for help, let alone talk about their condition.

That’s one out of every three Australians silently struggling with mental stress.

“For business owners, leaders and managers, there is a duty of care to foster a work environment that prioritises its employees’ mental health and wellbeing,” said Eddie Megas, managing director of ADP Australia.

“While being under pressure is a normal part of life, the number of Australians reporting that they are experiencing stress on a weekly basis suggests we are falling short.”

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Overlooking Australia’s mental health crisis can have dire consequences on the life of individuals, organisations and the larger community.

“It really is in everyone’s interests – employers and employees alike – to improve the mental health of our teams,” Megas said.

“Alongside the ethical considerations to creating a supportive and productive work environment, we know there is a strong business case to be made too.”

The government’s Productivity Commission estimates employers in Australia lose up to $17bn a year from absenteeism and presenteeism due to poor mental health.

But organisations with lower incidences of mental stress tend to have more productive teams, fewer employee absences due to illness, and higher employee retention rates, Megas pointed out.

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Across the Asia Pacific, workers in Australia are said to be among those least likely to discuss mental health at work.

“We should dig deep and move quickly to understand why Australians are less likely as other workers across APAC to not raise mental health issues with their bosses,” Megas said.

“An open and honest dialogue is the first step in addressing the issues – raising concerns so plans and procedures can be introduced to help alleviate the causes of stress.”

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