Mental health is key at work

Rebecca Lister and Lynette Stenhouse of Headspace use Joel Pate from the audience to "weigh him down with worries" at the breakfast last Tuesday.
Rebecca Lister and Lynette Stenhouse of Headspace use Joel Pate from the audience to "weigh him down with worries" at the breakfast last Tuesday.

Untreated mental health conditions cost Australian workplaces over $10 billion a year and a breakfast at the Buffs Club on Tuesday looked at how to address this expensive problem.

Outgoing Headspace relationship broker Rebecca Lister organised the breakfast for Mental Health Week she called “creating a deadly headspace in the workplace” and she began her speech by talking about what mental healthy workplaces looked like.

“It’s where workers and staff are supported and where people are able to do their best work,” Ms Lister said.

“That’s what we want, we want to retain staff, and we want to reduce absenteeism.”

Ms Lister said almost half of all Australians (45 per cent) experience a mental condition in their lifetime.

“That’s a huge statistic, and one in five will experience mental illness at some stage in their life,” she said.

See photos from the breakfast ===> here

“In every year one million Australians experience depression and two million experience anxiety but less than half seek support, whether through stigma, embarrassment or shame.”

As well as absenteeism, Ms Lister said another big problem was “presenteeism” where staff were present at work but not contributing effectively.

“These issues cost Australian business $10.9 billion every year,” she said.

“But every dollar invested in mental health achieves a return of $2.30.”

She said Australian loses 12 million days of productivity to mental health issues every year.

“We’ve got to find ways of keeping our staff healthy and happy in the workplace,” she said.

We’ve got to find ways of keeping our staff healthy and happy in the workplace

Rebecca Lister

Also speaking at the breakfast was Lisa Clancy from the Clancy Corporation.

Ms Clancy spoke about how important looking after the mental health of their staff was to the company’s success in the past two decades.

“We spend most of our life at work so we need to be happy and passionate at the workplace and we all need to feel valued,” Ms Clancy said.

“Our staff are not just a number and a name – they are our family.”