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Research shows that 50% of people with declining mental health, don’t or won’t seek help

Managing mental health in the workplace is a constant challenge and often centres around tackling stigma and encouraging help-seeking.

Workers mental health and wellbeing is affected by numerous impacts both at work and at home. Sometimes, life just gets in the way. When our mental health starts to decline, it’s important that we reach out and seek help.

However, research shows that 50% of people with declining mental health, don’t or won’t seek help.

Encouraging help-seeking in the workplace is vital. It leads to early intervention and quicker recovery. With 20-25% of the workforce experiencing a mental health issue at any given time, and the average Australian mental health stress claim costing $55,000 and requiring 15 weeks off work, it’s little wonder organisations are looking for new initiatives that encourage help-seeking.

Investing in Mental Health

Investing to Save is a joint Mental Health Australia and KPMG  report that provides tangible options to delivering additional economic and productivity gains for businesses supporting workplace mental health. One of the recommendations includes the introduction of mental health wellbeing screening checks. Any employee who is screened to have heightened depression are immediately referred to a psychological service. This is an effective tool in increasing employee wellbeing and reducing lost work days.

Incorporating Software into Wellbeing

One of our clients have taken a step towards incorporating mental health training software into their wellbeing program. An Australian Mining Services Company who employees approximately 4,500 staff across Australia in both regional and metro sites, conducted a number of mental health campaigns throughout 2018 supported by the Tap Into Safety Mental Health Solution.

Overall Results

The Tap Into Safety Mental Health Solution was completed by 545 (12%) employees.

Female workers (298 staff) showed higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression (Figure 1). The results showed that female staff were well above the norms for extremely severe anxiety (12%) and extremely severe depression (10%).

help seeking

Figure 1: Male vs Female Overall Results

Results Analysed by Age

The results revealed high variances in the levels of stress, anxiety and depression across age groups. Younger workers aged 35 years and under showed the highest levels of stress, anxiety and depression across the staff group.

Figure 2 shows the results of 142 workers under the age of 35

  • 8 were extremely severely stressed
  • 20 extremely severely anxious, and
  • 20 extremely severely depressed.

help seeking

Figure 2: Results analysed according to age – under 35 years

Results Analysed by Work Hours

  • Staff working regular hours (171 results) showed extremely severe levels of stress (9%), anxiety (13%) and depression (13%).
  • Staff working shift work and FIFO rosters (287 results) showed lower levels of extremely severe stress (1%), anxiety (7%) and depression (6%).
  • Full-time workers (448 results) showed extremely severe rates of stress (3%), anxiety (8%) and depression (8%).
  • Part-time workers (13 results) showed extremely severe anxiety results (15%) and extremely severe depression results (8%).
  • Casual workers (30 results) showed elevated levels of extremely severe stress (7%), anxiety (10%) and depression (10%).

Results Analysed by Role

Staff worked across three areas of the business:

  • Service Operations
  • Professional Roles (HR, Finance, legal etc)
  • Onsite Roles

Overwhelmingly staff in transversal function roles (43 results) of HR, Payroll, Finance, Legal, Brand and Communications showed elevated results of extremely severe stress (7%), anxiety (16%) and depression (19%) (Figure 3). When analysed by business segment, it was those working in office-based, corporate roles that were most at risk.

help seeking

Figure 3: Results analysed by role – Transversal Functions

Help-Seeking Results

Within the Tap Into Safety Mental Health Solution is the ability for individual workers to contact someone from work, the company Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or an outside agency to seek help for mental health issues.

For our client, there were a total of 18 help requests. To extrapolate the cost savings for this company of staff seeking help early, we can calculate help-seeking activities against the cost of an average mental health stress claim. If we multiply the cost of an average claim ($55,000) by the number of staff who sought help for a mental health issue, the total saving is approximately $990,000.

Summary of the Results

Female workers, under 35 years of age, in corporate positions, working regular hours, showed elevated levels of stress, anxiety and depression.  The results showed that female staff were well above the norms for extremely severe anxiety (12% – 35 staff) and extremely severe depression (10% – 30 staff).

How Can the Tap Into Safety Mental Health Solution Help?

Our Mental Health Solution helps organisations to identify staff groups with mental health issues early on. It helps to increase mental health literacy by providing refresher training on workplace stressors that impact mental health and teaches practical coping strategies. It provides an alternative method of a non-confrontational way to encourage help-seeking.

More Info

Want to see how Tap Into Safety can make your workplace safety training engaging? Try a free demo today.

Dr. Susanne Bahn, Director and CEO, Tap into Safety

With over 11 years’ consultancy and 9 years’ research including more than 50 published journal articles, Sue knows her way around safety in hazardous workplaces. Her specific expertise focuses on induction deafness, risk blindness and risk management. A passionate individual, Sue is on a mission to lift the safety standard across Australia and internationally. Her qualifications include a PhD (Business – Health and Safety Management), a Masters in Human Resource Management, a Bachelor of Education and a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education. In July 2017 Sue was appointed as a panel member of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Small Business Finance Advisory Panel. This appointment is an exciting opportunity to provide the Bank with valuable information on the financial and economic conditions faced by small businesses throughout Australia.

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Originally published on Tap into Safety

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