Building mentally healthy workplaces

WorkCover Queensland and the Office of Industrial Relations have announced on August 7, 2017, a joint collaboration with SuperFriend Mental Health Promotion Foundation to improve corporate leadership advocacy for mentally healthy workplaces.

The Leading Well Queensland Collaboration will engage senior business and industry leaders through various leadership forums and events designed to showcase organisations, which are building mentally healthy workplaces and reducing the risk of psychological injury. 

According to WorkCover Queensland CEO, Bruce Watson the Leading Well Queensland Collaboration is a fine example of like-minded partners working together to encourage business leaders to tackle workplace mental health issues head on. 

“This initiative is all about empowering Queensland business leaders to show their commitment to embracing best practice mental health and wellbeing in the workplace,” Watson said. 

“Increasingly, organisations are looking to business leaders to be authentic in the way they connect with their employees and through the conversations they have about mental health-related issues. 

“The Leading Well Queensland Collaboration is acutely aware that the journey towards a mentally health workplace is complex,” Mr Watson said. 

WorkCover says that in the financial year 2016/2017, they accepted 959 mental disorder statutory claims costing $48.1m in total compared to 944 claims costing $46m for the 2015/2016 financial year. 

“Psychological and psychiatric claims can be very costly for employers and involve prolonged periods of rehabilitation and uncertainty for workers suffering with mental illness and their families,” Watson said

“Leaders of mentally healthy workplaces must demonstrate a unique blend of human-centred management skills and confidence to champion best practice behaviours at all levels of their organisations.” 

The QLD Government has been proactive in the area of mental health and the workplace and have recently published its Early Action: Queensland Mental Health Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention Action Plan, which aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of Queenslanders by reducing the incidence, severity and duration of mental health issues and mental illness. 

“The Office of Industrial Relations publicly committed to the Early Action Plan through its own Mental Health at Work Action Plan 2016 – 2020 just last year,” head of OIR, Dr Simon Blackwood said. 

“We’re fully committed to working with the community, industry and social partners to increase the visibility and importance of mental health at work.

“Our Mental Health Ambassador, Libby Trickett is sharing her journey at workplaces all around the state and we recently sponsored Mates in Construction to the tune of $1m,” Dr Blackwood said.

The Leading Well Queensland Collaboration is based on the experience of the Victorian Workplace Mental Wellbeing Collaboration, a partnership between VicHealth, WorkSafe Victoria and SuperFriend that was formed in August 2014.

SuperFriend CEO, Margo Lydon believes that the success of the Victorian collaboration shows the benefit of engaging with leaders and demonstrating how mental health is something to be incorporated into business as usual.   

“While it’s incredibly important to ensure that those experiencing mental illness, receive support – every business should be focussed on providing a workplace that promotes positive mental health outcomes for all of their employees."
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