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MENTAL HEALTH OFFICERS ON RADAR FOR BIG WA COMPANIES



Institute of Management Consultants 2014 National Conference on Resilience

November 5, 2014

Media Statement

MENTAL HEALTH OFFICERS ON RADAR FOR BIG WA COMPANIES

Mental health will soon be a bigger issue than physical safety for managers, and large companies could hire dedicated mental health officers to help keep their staff resilient, according to a key WA business leader.

Peter Fitzpatrick, who is also the Chair of WA’s Ministerial Council for Suicide Prevention, said the issue of how to boost workplace mental health would be front and centre at the Institute of Management Consultants 2014 National Conference on Resilience in Joondalup on November 13 and 14.

“Too many WA companies are too busy cost cutting and searching for cheaper quotes that they’re dragging their feet when it comes to taking steps to supporting staff in staying mentally well,” he said.

“Those businesses are failing to realise that spending a relatively small amount of money to boost the resilience of their workers through improving their mental health is going to help them stay profitable; research shows for every dollar spent on it, there’s a $2.30 return.

“If a staff member with depression is, on average, taking one to two days off work a month and you can offer them greater support, they may be able to become not only healthier but also more productive.”

An ABS study reveals Australian businesses lose $10.9 billion each year by failing to address mental health issues in the workplace comprising $4.7 billion in absenteeism, $6.1 billion in presenteeism and $146 million in compensation claims

“Statistics suggest one in five workers are struggling to cope with the demands of their job and with depression and other mental illnesses on the rise, it is set to become a greater issue facing managers than physical safety on the job,” said Mr Fitzpatrick.

“In the not-too-distant future, it may well make economic sense for bigger organisations to appoint dedicated mental health officers to look out for and manage the needs of staff in the same way that occupational health and safety officers do in terms of physical safety in the workplace.

“For smaller companies, the human resources team or safety officer may take on the role.”

Mr Fitzpatrick said awareness training and putting managers through mental health first aid courses were critical in helping businesses stay resilient while WA experienced a tougher economic climate.

The Conference is on November 13 & 14.
Please visit
http://imcconference.com.au/ for details.

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Media Contact: Natalie Caudle, natalie@capturemedia.com.au, 0407 984 435