WARWICK experts say companies will reap the benefits from improving mental health in the workplace.
WARWICK experts say companies will reap the benefits from improving mental health in the workplace. kieferpix

Mental health costing our workforce $12 billion each year

BOLSTERING the mental wellbeing of employees can increase productivity and have significant economic pay-offs for companies, according to Warwick-based social worker Kathryn Walton.

"We feel better about our job, feel better about being there and get a sense of satisfaction from what we do when mental health is in good shape," she said.

Ms Walton said mental health was the leading cause of absenteeism in workplaces in the developing world.

"The losses in Australia as a result of mental health are estimated to be $12 billion dollars per year," she said.

Warwick psychologist Mark Cary said unrealistic expectations, long working hours and pressure to perform were among the issues that could contribute to poor mental health in the workplace.

He said anyone experiencing poor mental health at work should inquire about counselling services that might be provided by the employer.

"If not there are a number of online services like beyondblue and the Black Dog Institute that cater to low level stress," Mr Cary said.

But if issues had not been resolved in two or three weeks, Mr Cary recommended raising concerns with a GP.

Ms Walton said her survey was the starting point for developing local resources in the Southern Downs.

"There are already quite a few resources and training programs out there but (occupational therapist) Bel du Bois and myself are looking to provide local support and options to meet the local needs identified through the survey and our consultations with industry and workplaces," she said.

If you or anyone you know has been affected by this story, you can get immediate help 24/7 - phone Lifeline on 131114 or beyondblue on 1300224636.



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