The NSW Government has yesterday launched a new workplace intervention program, a new website with free support and resources and additional funding to help drought-affected farmers living with mental illness and distress.
The Government is confident that thousands of workers around the State will receive better support to overcome mental health challenges through the Mentally Healthy Workplaces strategy.
“We know about one in six workers will experience significant mental illness in any four-week period. Because mental illness can sometimes reoccur, the proportion of the workforce experiencing this in any year may be even higher,” said Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean.
“When mental health challenges arise, it can often mean time off work. But returning to work is an important step in recovery because it can help give structure and a sense of purpose.”
The new initiatives include:
- Mentally Healthy Workplaces Ambassadors, including Landcom, led by John Brogden, to raise awareness of the importance of workplace mental health;
- Access to free, tailored SafeWork NSW training for at least 3,600 managers around NSW to improve awareness and support of mental illness;
- A website offering free support and resources for managers and workers about workplace mental health;
- A funding boost of $100,000 for the Virtual Psychologist service, which will give an additional 1,100 farmers access to critical psychological counselling support in real time
“This is the first stage of the $55 million Mentally Health Workplaces strategy, which represents the single biggest investment in workplace mental health in the country’s history,” said Mr. Kean.
“Mental health-related absenteeism is estimated to cost the NSW economy $1.5 billion annually. This strategy will play a critical role in improving people’s lives while maximizing the State’s productivity.”
Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies said everyone should do their share in tackling the stigma around mental illness.
“We need to work together to tackle the stigma that still exists around mental illness, and these new initiatives will make it easier for people to take the sometimes daunting step of reaching out for support to stay in, or return to work.”
More information is available on the Mentally Health Workplaces website or by calling SafeWork NSW on 13 10 50.