Gallagher Bassett’s Paul Cassar has presented on mental health response and prevention to the Australian Hotels Association in Melbourne.
Cassar, GB’s strategic manager for mental health for Victoria, discussed how understanding organisational factors are crucial in controlling the impacts of work-related stress, as well as provided examples of prevention models GB has developed for the industry, including the health and wellbeing program for emergency services, which is focused on improving and supporting the health and wellbeing of employees.
GB noted that 21% Australian employees take time off work each year because they feel stressed, anxious, depressed, or mentally unwell and that 46% of employees who consider their workplace to be mentally unhealthy take time off because of mental health issues.
Key points of Cassar’s presentation included:
- At any given time, 20% of adults in Australia meet the criteria for a diagnoseable mental illness;
- It’s not a case of “if” employee mental health is impacting on a business, but the extent to which it’s impacting;
- There are “visible” and less visible costs associated with employee mental health issues and that claims lodged often only reflect the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of employee mental health issues;
- Understanding organisation factors are crucial in controlling the impacts of work-related stress; and
- Employers need to develop and introduce a risk-management approach that is underpinned by management commitment and structured engagement to prevent and manage work-related stress.
“The journey to creating psychologically safe and health workplace is different for every organisation,” Cassar said. “It’s important to create customised, practical solutions that directly address your organisation needs in order to make a genuine, measurable impact on the psychological health of your workplace. Making the commitment to start the conversation is the most challenging step.”