Sector News Stigma Reduction — 17 July 2014

A LEADING Tasmanian businessman says employers across the state have a lot of work to do to make workplaces mentally healthy for their employees.

The time has come to focus on the mental health of employees, not just compliance issues and workplace safety, said Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Michael Bailey.

“We spend so much time at work but many of us think of it as being outside our normal lives – it’s not, it is our lives,” Mr Bailey said.

“Businesses have a responsibility to build mentally healthy workplaces.”bigstock_Thumb_Up_1037090

The TCCI has jumped on anti-depression body beyondblue’s national campaign “headsup”, which is encouraging workplaces to put workers’ mental wellbeing front and centre.

Mr Bailey wants other workplaces to get on board.

“It should be normal to talk about mental health in the workplace,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of emphasis on workplace safety and standards but mental health is just as important.

“We are a community of people, not just a workplace, it’s OK to ask if workers are struggling and help them.”

Untreated depression results in six million working days lost in Australia each year. Mr Bailey said the productivity benefit should not be the focus but a happy community was obviously good for business. He called on bosses to work with employees to reduce stressors.

TCCI administration co-ordinator Jemma Crosswell said walking meetings rather than being stuck in the office all day was a good mental health boost.

“It’s easy, it’s free, jump onto the beyondblue website and register as a Tasmanian business,” Ms Crosswell said.

This article first appeared on ‘news.com.au’ on 17 July 2014.

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