Why Is Mental Health So Important?
Mental Health is the concern of every member of our community.
Official figures show that 1 in 5 Australians in any 12
month period will have a mental illness. This figure is
increased in adolescents and in the older age groups. When
you consider it is estimated that at least one third of
all people who have mental illness do not seek help, then
the figure of 1:5 increases dramatically. Add to this number
the people who are Carers for people with mental illness
and you have a large percentage of the population affected
by mental ill health.
Every member of our society is responsible for the mental health of our community.
The costs to the
Questions you may need to ask yourself if
you are a manager:
you aware of how to Performance Manage a
person with mental illness?
you aware of the positive aspects of
employing a person who has a mental
know what mania looks like and the
potentially positive and negative
aspects of it?
know how to prevent mental illness in
training have your directors, managers,
WHS, HR and other staff had in mental
policies and protocols does your
workplace have to prevent stress and
mental illness from being a burden?
you aware of the changes in workplace
legislation about stress and mental
illness and the precedents that have now
been set in the courts of law about
litigation against individual directors,
managers and workplaces who have not
provided a safe workplace?
know how to make work place adjustments
to suit a person with mental illness?
know how to make Wellness/Stay Safe
According to Workcover statistics,
Manual Handling injuries cost $224 million
dollars in Australia in 2004/05,
Occupational Overuse claims were $29.7
million and Mental Disorder claims cost
$91.6 million. This equates to 36% of these
claims, plus one must add into this the
number of manual handling injuries that
occurred as a consequence of stress and
Depression alone is
estimated, in economic terms to:
• Reduce workplace performance by 40%
• Cost the workplace $9960 per employee who
has undiagnosed depression
• Contribute to the loss of 6 million
working days annually
• Constitute 5.8% of workers compensation
claims made in 2003, with an average time
off of 96.1 days, compared with 28.9 days
for other claims. (While official figures of
2005-06 have not been released as yet it is
expected that these figures will be a great
deal higher, some estimations are of 30%
Add to these figures the
cost of other illnesses such as bipolar,
schizophrenia, anxiety, ADHD, etc and the
time and inability of carers to work as
efficiently as possible and you can see that
it is imperative for the social and
financial cost to our community that people
become educated in mental health.
However people with mental illness who know
they can be open about their health and be
supported at work take significantly less
days off work and some researchers say that
these people frequently have less time off
work than people who do not have mental
If the business and community
sector continue to ignore the warning signs of individuals who
may be affected by mental health care concerns, the manifestation
of problems may complex and difficult to manage. However if people
are proactive and put into place education, training, workplace
and social adjustments to ensure that people do not become unwell
or are supported so that they recuperate quickly the outcomes will
be positive, enlightening, and sustainable.
Consider the famous
people throughout history who have had mental illness and the amazing
achievements they have brought to our way of living. Where would
we be without them? Who are the next Michelangelo's, Leonardo da
Vince's, John Nash's, Beethoven's etc. they may well be in your
family, workplace or community.