A Price Waterhouse Coopers report on mental health in the workplace discovered businesses stood to gain approximately $2.30 for every dollar spent if they chose to tackle problems themselves.

The same report estimated 33 per cent of financial and insurance sector workers were suffering from some degree of mental health problems. 23 per cent of those working in media, telecommunications, and the essential services were at risk of mental health problems.

However, the hospitality and recreational industries topped the chart with the highest rates of depression and anxiety.

Doctor Stephen Carbone, a research and evaluation leader with Beyond Blue, believed businesses needed to look after people with mental health conditions, as they would an employee with a physical injury or sickness.

“People are still quite fearful of the consequences of telling employers if they have a mental health condition because they think it will impact job promotion or opportunities – something that wouldn’t be an issue for somebody who hurt their knee.”

Dr Carbone went on to say, “Mental health conditions can develop in a workplace environment but you also get situations where people have pre-existing problems that are exacerbated in the workplace.

“Depression and anxiety can affect performance and often people with mental health conditions aren’t as efficient at doing their job as they normally wold be.

“There’s not one specific industry where mental health conditions aren’t a concern.”

Dr Carbone insisted there was still a great deal of misunderstanding about mental health issues.

“The more we talk about it at work and in schools, the more people will see this as just another part of life and there is nothing to be scared or apprehensive about.”

Suicide is highly correlated with mental health.

Suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians – more even than car accidents in 16 to 24 year olds.

45 per cent of Australians are expected to suffer from a metal condition at some point in their lives. This is expected to cost the Australian economy more than $10 billion a year.

Currently Australian businesses lose $4.7 billion through employee absenteeism, $6.1 billion due to loss of productivity, and $146 million in workplace compensation claims due to mental health issues.

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