AUSTRALIAN bosses are ignoring their staff’s mental health, a new survey from Super Friend, a new website set up to support Australian workers, has revealed.
Seventy per cent of Australian workers say that their workplace does not offer programs to support their mental and emotional wellbeing. The survey, by new website www.superfriend.com.au, polled 1000 Australians to gauge attitudes to workers’ physical and mental wellbeing.
Superfriend.com.au is being launched today by the SuperFriend Industry Funds Forum Mental Health
Foundation to provide workers with tools and tips on how to stay mentally healthy. The launch coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from October 5 to 11.
The survey also found that 50 per cent of Australians admit to often feeling stressed and a quarter of us often feel depressed. Despite this, more than two-thirds of Australians have never sought help or advice for their mental health.
John Mendoza, Chair of SuperFriend’s Mental Health Reference Group, said Australian employers
needed to recognise the importance of looking after the mental health and wellbeing of their staff.
“There is increasing evidence of a link between stress in the workplace and mental illness,” Mr Mendoza said. “The cost of workplace stress to Australian business is potentially crippling. I would call on all Australian employers to learn more about what they can do to support their staff and encourage them to seek help when they need it.”
The superfriend.com.au survey also found:
- One in two Australians believe that having a few drinks is a good way to maintain or improve their mental health;
- 80 per cent of Australians believe watching TV has a positive impact on their mental health;
- Australians are putting their bodies ahead of their brains, with three-quarters of Australians engaged in activity to maintain or improve their physical health, while only 50 per cent are actively engaging in activity to maintain or improve their mental health.
- Older Australians are more likely to heed the call ‘use it or lose it’. While 57 per cent of all Australians feel they take good care of their mental health, 68 per cent of those over 50 feel they are looking after themselves emotionally.
- Australians aged 40 to 49 are the unhappiest and unhealthiest. Those in this age group are more likely to feel stressed and depressed and less likely to look after their physical and mental health.
Superfriend.com.au has been developed in partnership with industry super funds, eight group life insurers
and some of Australia’s leading mental health organisations including Beyond Blue, Centre for Mental
Health Research (Australian National University), Lifeline, Mental Health Council of Australia, SANE,
Schizophrenia Research Institute, Suicide Prevention Australia, and Wesley Mission.
Five tell-tale signs for employers to look out for:
- A previously energetic person is increasingly lethargic
- A new pattern of unexplained lateness or absences
- A new inability to concentrate or to complete work
- Acting agitated, afraid or suspicious for no obvious reason
- Showing signs of poor sleep or an increasing use of alcohol and or other drugs.