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As outlined in the article Mental health issues in the workplace, mental illness is becoming a significant issue with the World Health Organisation predicting that depression, one form of mental illness, will become the second most important cause of disability in the world by 2020.
Statistics indicate that one out of every five Australians (20%) will experience some form of mental illness each year, with three out of every ten (about 30%) being seriously affected.
Given that poor psychological health inhibits workers’ ability to use their knowledge and skills at work and that those with poor psychological health have more absence and are less productive at work, the lack of attention to such issues creates a burden both for business and for society, and potentially causes harm to workers, and often workers’ families.
In Australian workplaces it is probably fair to say that the management of mental health issues has received inadequate attention. Lack of awareness of the issue as well as inadequate preparation in how to deal with mental health issues are the likely reasons.
Recent Australian studies have found that not only do most Australian workers believe that their workplaces are not psychologically healthy but that employers under-estimate how important mental wellbeing is to employees.
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