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Workplace Strategies for Mental Health

We spend so much of our lives at work, it’s important for it to be both physically safe and mentally healthy. However, mental illness is now the leading cause of sickness absence and long-term work incapacity in Australia.

  • The total workplace cost for depression in any one year is estimated to be $8,025 per affected individual, with an estimated three to four days of work lost per month for each employee experiencing depression.
  • Workers compensation claims for stress-related mental disorders have increased to $200 million per annum in Australia.
  • A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report identified that ignoring it costs Australian businesses around $10.9 billion a year in lost productivity.
  • And with poor mental health likely to affect ONE IN FIVE employees, by taking action the benefits can be profound.

Beyond these measurable costs, are the hidden costs of reduced productivity through presenteeism, high staff turnover and subsequent loss of skills and corporate knowledge, as well as the opportunity costs and reputational risk to business when managers, sales teams and customer service staff are not able to perform at their best. In addition, the personal costs of mental ill health take a toll on the personal, family and social functioning of those affected.

Mental health in the workplace is one of the important issues businesses face today.

PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) discovered that on average, across all businesses, for every one dollar invested in mental health initiatives, there’s a return of $2.30 and reports showed that in many industries the returns were even greater. For example, for every one dollar invested in public administration and the safety industry, there’s a return of $3.60 and for every dollar invested in the electricity, gas, water and waste services industries, there’s a return of $6.70, and there’s even slightly more within mining. And the numbers are compelling within other sectors, such as information media and telecommunications, health care and social assistance, manufacturing and financial and insurance services.

The benefits are clear. Business leaders need to make a long-term commitment to a mentally healthy workplace. This will help create happier employees and attract and retain top talent. To register with Heads Up and learn more, go to, where you can also download the PricewaterhouseCoopers report. By taking the initiative, you’ll not only make your company a better place to work, you can help make it more productive. And that’s just good business.

The Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance (the Alliance) is a national approach by business, community and government to encourage Australian workplaces to become mentally healthy for the benefit of the whole community and businesses, big and small.

Established by the Commission on 1 July 2013, the Alliance aims to make sure all people in the workplace, including those who experience mental health difficulties, their families and those who support them, are supported.

This includes minimising harm, promoting protective factors and having positive cultures that are conducive to mental wellbeing. It also recognises that a mentally healthy workplace is not just good for people – it is also very good for business.

In addition to the Commission, Alliance members include: the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Australian Industry Group, The Australian Psychological Society Ltd, beyondblue, the Black Dog Institute, Business Council of Australia, Comcare, COSBOA, Mental Health Australia, Safe Work Australia, SANE, SuperFriend and The University of New South Wales.

All members share a commitment to supporting Australian workplaces to take active steps to create workplaces that are mentally healthy.

Heads Up

The Alliance has partnered with beyondblue on the roll out of a national campaign – Heads Up – to support and create mentally healthy workplaces for all businesses across all sectors.

Heads Up has produced resources for businesses, large and small, for managers, the boardroom and employees.

Visit where you’ll find amazing information and resources, tools and support to create a more mentally healthy workplace.


For other Gold Coast events and activities visit the Gold Coast Primary Health Network’s website:

PIR is a Federally funded program. Other consortia members include Gold Coast Health and Mental Health Association QLD