The World Health Organization predicts that by the year
2020, Mental Illness will be the leading cause of illness
and subsequent loss of revenue in the first world. We do
not have to allow this to take place.
workplace and community must step up to ensure a turn
around in this outcome. For more information contact www.who.int/en/
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 mental illness.
Laws pertaining to Mental Health as an WHS issue are
changing around the country. While they are different in
each state, it does not change the fact that the safest
environment is the most productive and contented environment.
Fay and Raylee Taylor were speakers at the Glen Inness Conference
Fay spoke on Mental Health in the Workplace and community and
Raylee on suicide prevention, 2006
When Mental Health is seen as an integral part of WHS
less physical accidents take place, there is a great
decrease in sick days taken by staff, insurance premiums are decreased
and productivity is increased.
Many people with
mental illness who are able to be open about their condition and are
supported in the workplace take less days off work than people who
do not have mental illness.
The costs to the workplace
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 have not been released as yet it is expected that these
figures will be a great deal higher, some estimations are of 30% increase)
Add to these figures the cost implications of other mental illnesses
both diagnosed and undiagnosed.
The following excerpt
is from Workplace “Blues”
Evidence is emerging that excessive workloads and long and irregular
hours of work are contributing to an increasing number of suicides, to
the extent that workplace legal practitioners are predicting a wave of
prosecutions against employers for literally working employees to death.
Recent amendments to Work Cover legislation in NSW point to jail terms
as possible outcomes in cases where it is proven that principals of firms
do not honour their duty of care to provide a safe workplace for all
The Bottom Line
Organizational stress arises over time as a business grows and evolves, and
therefore can be insidious and pervasive in eroding work performance.
As depression is a treatable condition early diagnosis and treatment
can be more cost effective than recruitment of new candidates, particularly
for key roles.
Failure to deal with the issue of organisational stress and the associated
mental health issues, such as depression, in a humane and empathetic
manner could ultimately lead to a costly and higher incidence of workplace
litigation. (Michael Taylor principal consultant of HMT Consultancy).
Engaging Vision In Mind will allow your work place the best possible
opportunity of avoiding the difficult, and possibly tragic events pertaining
to mental illness and stress which can take place in a workplace. We
guarantee you will never have experienced education and motivation in
the workplace like this before! Your managers and staff will experience
a life changing event which will lead to great improvements in lives
and workplace outcomes.
Dealing with the issues not just the symptoms.
Unfortunately the past decades have seen a marked increase in the expectations
of managers and employees in the workplace. This pressure can lead to individual,
family and organizational stress. Stress and mental illness in the workplace
can and must be managed with proactive, sustainable and visionary processes
and outcomes. If this is done, productivity, customer service, the quality
of mental and physical health and individuals lives are improved. All too
often Fay Jackson, CEO of Vision In Mind, has witnessed managers and employees
wasting time, money and quality of outcomes and lives by chasing solutions
to symptoms rather than the solutions to the issues, the root causes, which
underpin stress and mental illness in the workplace.
People who experience undiagnosed mental illness and stress are at an
increased risk of not managing their lives and work well. Very often
this lack of insight and responsibility may also lead to drug and alcohol
Research has shown a strong link between stress, mental illness, drug
and alcohol abuse, poor physical health and increase in accidents in
the workplace and community.
It is important to note that all of the concerns mentioned pertain not
only to the individual who has a mental health issue but also to their
carers and families. Therefore the productivity of a carer or family
member and their quality of life may also be affected if there is a loved
one at home who is experiencing mental illness.
The HR issues involved with mental illness and stress are enormous.
The business manager of one Australian airport revealed to Fay that mental
illness was the leading cause of all stress, conflicts, sick leave, loss
of quality employees etc. THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THE CASE.
Another company was at risk of loosing their biggest client and being
sued for breach of contract, loss of income etc which would have amounted
to in excess of 10s of millions of dollars and essentially destroying
the company leading to hundreds of positions being lost. Fay was able
to recognize the root cause of the problems taking place. With a minimum
of education and the design of proactive policies solutions were arrived
at within a week. The contract has continued and quality outcomes and
lives have been achieved.
The costs to the quality of life for individuals and the community from
mental illness and stress of course cannot be accurately assessed, however
it is certain that this is great as the World Health Organization quotes
moderate depression as being as debilitating as chronic asthma or diabetes,
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as disabling as paraplegia and unmanaged
schizophrenia as disabling as quadriplegia.