Held as part of Beyond Blue's National Roadshow, the event provided an overview of the research and statistics underpinning Heads Up, creating a compelling case for leaders to invest in workplace mental health.
Figures highlighted by the speaking panel included the fact that one in five Australian workers are currently experiencing a mental health condition, and that untreated mental health issues cost employers upwards of $10.9 billion every year in lost productivity.
Keynote speaker The Hon Jai Rowell MP, NSW Minister for Mental Health, told the audience that his aim is for every business in the state to take the first step towards more mentally health workplaces.
Mental health funding had traditionally focused on the acute end of treatment, the Minister said, but early intervention initiatives had the potential to lessen the impact of anxiety and depression or prevent their development, improving lives and reducing treatment costs.
With half of all WorkCover claims related to mental health, Vivek Bhatia, CEO of WorkCover NSW, spoke about the relationship between physical and mental health and safety in workplaces. While enormous progress had been made over the past two decades in lessening the risk of workplace accidents, he said, many business practices relating to mental health remained outdated.
Beyond Blue Chair The Hon Jeff Kennett AC and Head of Workplace Engagement, Patrice O'Brien, also spoke at the event, which was one of 10 being held as part of the National Roadshow initiative.
Business breakfasts are planned for Wollongong, Traralgon, Shepparton, Geelong and Melbourne over the coming weeks.
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