Thousands of workplace managers in NSW can now apply for free, tailored mental health training, after the state government began rolling out its Mentally Healthy Workplaces strategy. Run by SafeWork NSW, the training is designed to increase awareness and support of mental illness, and is among several initiatives announced by Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean this week.
The new initiatives include:
- Access to free, tailored SafeWork NSW training for at least 3,600 managers around NSW to improve awareness and support of mental illness
- A new website with 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
NSW pledged $55 million toward improving workplace mental health in June – the single-biggest investment in workplace mental health in the country’s history (see related article).
Kean said mental health-related absenteeism is estimated to cost the NSW economy $1.5 billion annually, and that this strategy would play a critical role in improving people’s lives while maximising workplace productivity.
“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.”
“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.”
Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies said the strategy was developed in consultation with people with lived experience of mental illness, as well as academics, advocates, industry and worker representatives.
“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.”
Find out more about the NSW Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy 2018-2022 here.