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There is little doubt that mental health has been an emerging issue for Australian workplaces for some time now. In 2009, it was claimed mental illness is to the 21st century what physical industrial diseases like silicosis were to the 19th and early 20th centuries (see Health Voices, The Journal of the Consumers Health Forum of Australia). In fact, by 2020, The World Health Organisation predicts that depression, one form of mental illness, will become the second most important cause of disability in the world.
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.
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