Mental health at work still a stigma: Report

Senior managers are most likely to experience the highest levels of stress at work and are at risk of leaving their employer in the next 12 months, according to mental health organisation SuperFriend.

With one quarter of workers experiencing high levels of stress in jobs, employers need to do more to support mental health and wellbeing, SuperFriend's Indicators of a Thriving Workplace report shows.

Almost half (45%) of the participants said they've experienced some stigma related to mental health in their workplace. This was most common among younger workers aged 18-24 year olds.

One-in-five of the 5000 surveyed tend to suffer from mental health issues - but many cases go unnoticed.

SuperFriend chief executive Margo Lydon said to identify and appropriately support workers, and acknowledge how much productivity is lost or gained from mental health issues is still a learning process for managers.

Almost two-thirds (64%) believe investing in mental health and wellbeing would improve productivity, she said.

More than half (55%) said the effect would reduce sickness and absenteeism and even improve retention.

"Australian workers recognise the benefits for employers of investing in mental health and wellbeing and want to see their employers actively taking an interest and getting involved in the policies being put into place," she said.

In this year's survey, SuperFriend developed 40 new indicators to help employers identify workplace mental health needs and gaps. These included: leadership, connectedness, policies, capabilities and culture.

Lydon said Australian workplaces excel at teamwork, collaboration and social inclusion.

"Positive, high-quality interpersonal connections are essential to maintaining positive mental health and wellbeing. Optimal work environments enable thriving, feeling like a community where people support each other, beyond just getting the work done," Lydon said.

Financial services employees experience higher stress levels compared to other professions. Read our feature article on how financial services staff can de-stress here.

Read more: Mental healthSuperFriendMargo Lydon
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