Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Health check your workplace for Mental Health Week

Did you know one in five people experience mental illness each year, making it one of the most common forms of disability in the community? This means it is likely that some of the people you work, live and socialise with every day have experienced, or may be living with, mental illness.

This year, Mental Health Week will run from Sunday 4 to Saturday 10 October.

Mental Health Week aims to activate, educate and engage Victorians from all walks of life about mental health through a week of interactive events across the state.

The week coincides with World Mental Health Day, which is marked every year on 10 October.

Mental illness affects people’s health, which can include the way they think, feel and interact. Although it is very common in Australia, a poll of the top Australian Stock Exchange companies showed that 40 per cent of companies had not considered how to manage discrimination against employees with mental illness in their organisation.

Research also suggests a significant number of employees with stress or depression will suffer in silence, resulting in a significant loss of productivity for business. Many managers are paralysed by the fear of saying the wrong thing and opt for saying
nothing instead.

Employers are not required to be experts on mental illness, but they need to understand how it may affect their employees.

The Commission has developed a guideline outlining obligations under the Equal Opportunity Act regarding discrimination against people with mental illness in employment. It provides practical guidance for employers on how to be proactive in preventing discrimination against employees and job applicants with mental illness.

The guideline also provides general information about mental illness and seeks to dispel some of the myths and stereotypes about how mental illness can affect people in employment.

Download the guideline: Mental illness > Complying with the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 in employment.