Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health conditions experienced by people in Australia, and tend to affect people during their prime working years (16 to 64 years).
When suffering from emotional stress or mental health issues, whether it is caused by a personal crisis or work related factors, diverts the focus away from the task at hand, potentially leading to reduced productivity and lapses in safety. When working on “auto-pilot”, reaction times are slower and judgement abilities can be affected.
Unfortunately, although these conditions can be as debilitating as a serious physical illness, less than half of the people affected seek help. (according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics). This can have a serious impact on the overall safety of the workplace. This is further exasperated considering the difficulties of being able to sensitively identify those who may need assistance.
Being proactive as an employer in supporting workers to reach out for help is a step in the right direction to keep your workforce healthy. Creating an opportunity to start the conversation, is often the hardest step to take as manager/employer. This is why developing actionable and objective measures to make this process easy is critical to developing your mental health management policies.