Workplace mental health—all you need to know (for now)

Written and accurate as at: 15 September 2021

Unfortunately, 45.5% of Australians will be affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime*.

A mental health condition can include affective disorders (depression), anxiety disorders (panic and post-traumatic stress disorder), and substance use disorders (alcohol/drug dependence).

Risk factors for developing a mental health condition may include, family history, personality factors, comorbidities, and ongoing stressful events either personal and/or work-related.

From a work and workplace perspective, an individual’s average number of days off work each year due to an affective disorder is 75.4 days; an anxiety disorder is 53.5 days; and, a substance use disorder is 40.2 days.

Please note: The cost of absenteeism to the Australian economy each year is estimated at $7 billion. Though, presenteeism (i.e. going to work but not fully functioning due to ill health or a chronic disease) is estimated at $35 billion^.

In this TED Talk, Tom Oxley covers the importance and benefits of organisations creating a safe and supportive environment for employees, especially around workplace mental health.

*Zurich. (2018). The cost of care: The missing link in strategic financial advice equation. Health Research Whitepaper.

^Australian Government, Comcare. (2011). Benefits to business: The evidence for investing in worker health and wellbeing.