My name is Deidre Willmott. I'm the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia. The stigma of mental health issues has always been a big barrier to properly recognising the importance of mental health and also properly addressing mental health issues when they do arise.
I think one of the biggest challenges for business today is probably a lack of understanding around the depths of this problem. Any support measures or policies or initiatives that can be put in place to help educate businesses, inform them about the types of policies and programs that are available is certainly going to help them in the longer term build that productive workforce.
Regional businesses are unique in the fact that they are in smaller communities, so there tends to be a closer community feel and how they're addressing mental health issues is they tend to be involved in a lot more things than just their own business. So, there's a lot of incredible mental health groups in regional communities and a lot of business owners are part of those groups and just making sure that their workplaces are mentally health aware.
We've seen awareness of mental health issues rising over the last few years. Our employee-relations advice center receives more and more questions from employers wanting advice on how they should manage mental health issues, how they can work to create a mentally healthy workplace. It's something that we've also been working on as an employer with our 300 employees raising awareness of the importance of mental health, training mental health first aid officers. All our managers have had mental health training.
The Heads Up initiative is an important program to the extent that it can help inform and educate businesses right across the state around what programs are available to help them support their employees deal with mental health issues.
I think the Heads Up tool that's been designed and launched is an incredible resource for regional business owners all over this state. It gives you access to great information, tips, advice, resources. So, it just means that you're well-armed and well informed, and you can make sure that you're providing that healthy-happy workplace for all of your people.