Resources

Welcome

 

Welcome to beyondblue’s workplace mental health resource for senior organisational leaders. This resource is designed specifically for organisational leaders to provide you with the skills and strategies you need to create a mentally healthy workplace.

How to use this site

  • To view more detailed information about each topic click on ‘i’ buttons.
  • To hear from industry experts speaking about each topic click the video icon button.
  • Scroll down each page to learn about each topic and activate the various interactive tools.
  • As you complete each of the activities using the interactive tools, your results will be added to your personalised Action Plan for you to download, share or print.

 

 

What is depression and how can it be treated?

We all feel sad, moody or low from time to time. However, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason. This is different from day to day stress. Depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious condition that has an impact on both physical and mental health.

Managing depression can improve wellbeing and quality of life. People with depression and/or anxiety can find it difficult to take the first step in seeking help. They may need the support of family, friends, colleagues and a health professional.

The following consistent changes in workplace behaviour may be signs that a person is experiencing depression or anxiety:

  • slowing down of thoughts and actions
  • increased irritability, frustration and moodiness
  • finding it hard to take minor personal criticisms
  • spending less time with friends and family
  • loss of interest in food, sex, exercise or other pleasurable activities
  • being awake throughout the night
  • increased alcohol and drug use
  • staying home from work
  • increased physical health complaints like fatigue or pain
  • being reckless or taking unnecessary risks (e.g. driving fast or dangerously)
  • thoughts such as, “I’m a failure”, “I can’t do anything right”, “People would be better off without me”.

The good news is, just like a physical illness, depression is treatable and effective treatments are available. People can fully recover from depression and anxiety.

Most workers successfully manage their depression and anxiety without it impacting on their work. Some may require workplace support for a short period of time, while a minority will require ongoing workplace strategies.

Treatment

Effective treatments for depression and anxiety are available. However, different types of depression and anxiety require different types of treatment. There are a range of treatments that are proven to work, but it’s different for everybody.

The most important thing is to find a treatment that works for you.

Psychological treatments

Psychological treatments, such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), help people with depression and anxiety to change their thought patterns, the way they react to certain situations and/or sort out relationship difficulties.

Medication

Antidepressant medication, alongside psychological therapies, can also play a role in the treatment of moderate to severe depression and some anxiety conditions.

Other approaches

There is evidence that other approaches may assist people in their recovery from depression and anxiety. These include exercise, relaxation training, healthy eating, good sleep hygiene, and support from family and friends.

What is anxiety and how can it be treated?

Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried – it’s a serious condition that makes it hard to cope on a daily basis. We all feel anxious form time to time. However, for a person experiencing anxiety, these anxious feelings cannot be brought under control easily.

There are many types of anxiety conditions. While the symptoms for each condition are different, some general signs and symptoms include:

  • feeling very worried or anxious most of the time
  • finding it difficult to calm down
  • feeling overwhelmed or frightened by sudden feelings of intense panic/anxiety
  • experiencing recurring thoughts that cause anxiety, but may seem silly to others
  • avoiding situations or things which cause anxiety (e.g. social events or crowded places)
  • experiencing ongoing difficulties (e.g. nightmares/flashbacks) after a traumatic event.

Treatment

Effective treatments for depression and anxiety are available. However, different types of depression and anxiety require different types of treatment. There are a range of treatments that are proven to work, but it’s different for everybody.

The most important thing is to find a treatment that works for you.

Psychological treatments

Psychological treatments, such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), help people with depression and anxiety to change their thought patterns, the way they react to certain situations and/or sort out relationship difficulties.

Medication

Antidepressant medication, alongside psychological therapies, can also play a role in the treatment of moderate to severe depression and some anxiety conditions.

Other approaches

There is evidence that other approaches may assist people in their recovery from depression and anxiety. These include exercise, relaxation training, healthy eating, good sleep hygiene, and support from family and friends.

Video panel

David Corduff, beyondblue Ambassador, Self-employed

Peter Anderson, Chief Executive, ACCI

Kate Carnell AO, CEO, beyondblue

Genevieve Hawkins, General Manager, Group TeamCover, Wesfarmers

Visit the resources section to view the full length interviews with our panel members.

The business case for workplace mental health

Cutting costs

Depression alone costs Australian business $12.3 billion every year. (n.b. this is an underestimate as it excludes anxiety disorders which are more prevalent than depression).  The costs associated with depression are mostly due to employees showing mild symptoms of depression.

Employees with untreated depression:

  • take three to four days off work per month
  • cost $9,660 in absenteeism and lost productivity costs ($650,000 per annum per 1,000 employees).

Direct costs

More workers are absent from work because of stress and anxiety disorders than because of physical illness or injury. Direct costs to business include absenteeism, presenteeism (i.e. reduced productivity while at work), and workers’ compensations claims.

Presenteeism takes a larger toll on business than absenteeism – 81% of lost productive time for depressed individuals is explained by presenteeism, and only 19% by absenteeism.

Indirect Costs

Indirect costs relate to poor work performance, morale, turnover, early retirement, work complaints, litigation and penalties for breaching of occupational health and safety (OH&S) legislation.

Cut the cost

Mental health programs in the workplace focusing on early intervention have been associated with a 492% return on investment.

Counting

the

cost

Depression costs Australian business $12.3 billion
dollars every year. Creating a mentally healthy
workplace is a critical challenge for
organisations and individuals.

i

The scale of the issue

More than 3 million Australians experience depression or anxiety. These conditions tend to affect people during their prime working years (16 to 64 years), so it is quite likely that you know someone, personally or at work, who is experiencing depression or anxiety.

 

0

Australian adults live
with depression

0

have anxiety

1 in 6 Australians

(17 per cent of the population)

currently has depression and/or anxiety

15% of Australians (one in six) have

experienced depression in their lifetime

– one in five women and one in eight men.

26% of Australians (one in four) have

experienced anxiety in their lifetime

– one in three women and one in five men.

Personal experiences

Talking Points

  1. Personal experience of workplace depression
  2. Suicide prevention
  3. Caring for a family member
  4. Protecting your own mental health

Speaking about mental health in the workplace is a powerful way for leaders to reduce stigma in the workplace.

Cost calculator

Drag the bar below to calculate the potential financial cost to your business based on the number of employees.

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Number of employees

We employ approx

0

employees

Next
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Results

The total estimated cost for your business is based on the cost per full-time employee with untreated depression each year ($650,000 per annum per 1,000 employees).

Employees with untreated depression take three to four days off work per month and incur $9,660 in absenteeism and lost productivity costs.

More workers are absent from work because of stress and anxiety disorders than because of physical illness or injury.

Depression could be costing your business:

$ 0 per year.

Cut the cost:

There is a compelling business case for creating a mentally healthy workplace, including benefits such as:

  • providing your business with a competitive advantage, reducing costs and risk
  • building your business’ reputation as an employer of choice, helping you recruit the best and brightest people
  • increasing the resilience of your people and business

Mental health programs in the workplace focusing on early intervention have been associated with a 492 per cent return on investment.

Next

Resources

David Corduff

beyondblue ambassador

David has spent much of his career in senior management positions with Australian manufacturing businesses. His passion for mental wellbeing in the workplace stems from his own challenges with depression, having experienced a number of bouts throughout his career. Being a beyondblue Ambassador enables David to share his story and help reduce the stigma associated with mental health conditions  – both in the community and in workplaces.

Genevieve Hawkins

General Manager, Group TeamCover, Wesfarmers

Wesfarmers is the largest private employer in Australia. As General Manager of Group TeamCover for Wesfarmers, Genevieve oversees workers compensation support across the organisation within a self-insured environment. She has a long history of working with various clients in the development and implementation of health and safety strategies, including leadership programs and cultural change. Genevieve has sat in a number of different stakeholder positions and these experiences lead her to continue to challenge senior managers and health and safety professionals to bring a pragmatic and engaged approach to health and safety. Genevieve believes leaders in all organisations have a key role to play in helping to create mentally healthy work environments which in turn contributes to the bottom line.

Peter Anderson

Chief Executive, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Peter is Chief Executive of ACCI – Australia’s largest and most representative business association. In addition to being one of Australia’s leading private sector advocates, he is a member of the National Workplace Relations Consultative Council, the Government’s Business Roundtable on Climate Change, a Board member of the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency and was appointed to the Government’s COAG Business Advisory Forum, the Ministerial Services Leaders Group, the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration and the Prime Minister’s National Panel for Economic Reform. He is also a member of the B20/G20 Taskforce on Job Creation and the Australian B20 Leadership Group. Having lost his brother to suicide, Peter strongly believes in and encourages honest and open discussion around mental health to reduce stigma and encourage help seeking.

 

Kate Carnell AO

Chief Executive Officer, beyondblue

Kate is Chief Executive Officer of beyondblue. Prior to being appointed to this role in 2012, she had been a Board Director of the not-for-profit since 2008.  Kate has also served as CEO of the Australian Food and Grocery Council and the Australian General Practice Network, and is a pharmacist by profession. Kate was elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly in 1992 and was elected Chief Minister in 1995 and re-elected in 1998. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2006 for her services to community through contributions to economic development and the medical sector. Having battled Anorexia nervosa as a teen, Kate is committed to improving awareness and understanding of mental health in the community.

beyondblue National Workplace Program

The beyondblue National Workplace Program (NWP) is an awareness, early intervention and prevention program designed specifically for workplace settings. It aims to increase the knowledge and skills of staff and managers to address mental health conditions in the workplace.

beyondblue Workplace online

beyondblue has developed a series of free online programs which include easy–to–follow activities, scenarios and filmed segments that build a solid understanding of depression and anxiety in the workplace. All the programs are short and can be used on smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.

beyondblue Mental Health in the Workplace

beyondblue’s website has information for organisations and businesses, managers and leaders, people with depression and anxiety, and workmates and colleagues. Our information aims to provide the evidence, principles and actions required to improve and maintain the mental health of workplaces of all sizes.

Mental Health First Aid

MHFA provides training for community members to provide support to one another in times of mental health problems and mental health crises. The 12–hour Mental Health First Aid course teaches adults how to provide initial support to adults who are developing a mental illness or experiencing a mental health crisis.

OzHelp – 1300 694 357

OzHelp is a workplace–based, early intervention, suicide prevention and social capacity building program.

SANE Australia Mindful Employer

SANE Australia Mindful Employer is an eLearning and face–to–face workplace mental health training program for all and any sized business Australia wide.

Comcare’s Mental Health Wellbeing at Work Program

Comcare works in partnership with employees and employers to reduce the human and financial costs of workplace injuries and disease in the Commonwealth jurisdiction.

To view more detailed information about each topic click on the 'i' icon.

To hear from industry experts speaking about each topic click the video icon.

Welcome

Welcome to beyondblue's workplace mental health resource for senior organisational leaders.

This resource is designed specifically for organisational leaders to provide you with the skills and strategies you need to create a mentally healthy workplace.

Scroll down to learn about each topic and activate the various interactive tools.