Every morning, one in every six working-aged persons will enter their workplace and begin their day managing a diagnosed mental illness.i In addition to this group, a further one in six will be suffering from symptoms associated with ill mental health, such as worry, sleeping difficulties and fatigue; all of which negatively affect their ability to perform productively at work.i
Based on this alone, it is clear that comprehensive employee mental health support is becoming increasingly important. With the advent of new virtual offerings to help manage mental health, it is also becoming a service that is not only effortless for employers to provide, but has demonstrated positive improvement and value.
Unlike many physical illnesses that are more prone to a particular age group or demographic, mental illness, such as depression, anxiety and stress, can universally affect people of any age, gender and background. In fact, one in five Australians will experience mental illness in their lifetime.i The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines good mental health as ‘a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to her or his community’.ii
The WHO also recognises that “prevention begins with being aware of and understanding the early warning signs and symptoms of mental illness.” This is more important than ever in the workplace, where mental health issues are prevalent, and where policies and practices can make a huge impact on not only the bottom line, but the health and happiness of individuals.
Increase mental health support to raise your company’s value
Mental health support should be front of mind for decision makers interested in a thriving employee culture and output. However, many people suffering with a serious health condition who need support do not always know where to look, or have the confidence to do so.i
Not to mention, navigating the mental health system is often considered challenging by both businesses and individuals alike, with many decision makers confused as to how to start tackling the issue effectively.
Mental health and support is a topic employers need to face in a proactive and meaningful way. This includes helping employees who may be not seeking care due to stigma, access or cost.
New services allow your company to provide discreet, convenient support for employees
Providing quality mental health support is easier than you might think. In fact, employees can seek expert mental health advice from the comfort of their home or even from their desk whilst on their lunch break.
With the increasing popularity of health apps and telehealth services, there is no denying that virtual health offerings are the way of the future. Virtual health platforms are connecting experts with employees – all over Australia – for a broad range of healthcare needs in a high quality, discreet and convenient manner.
Best Doctors is leading the way in the Australian mental health space with its Mental Health Navigator.
The platform provides timely access to a network of psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health nurses. Employees suffering a mental health condition are matched to a team of mental health experts who will conduct a discreet and convenient assessment of their condition via video link.
Professor Bernhard Baune, Head of Psychiatry, Melbourne Medical School, believes that virtual health platforms are the answer to many workplaces’ fears that providing mental health support is complicated and ineffective.
“Navigating the complex mental health system can be daunting for employees, particularly with the stigma attached to mental health,” said Professor Baune.
“Advancements in the telehealth space, such as Best Doctors, provide members with access to a multi-disciplinary team of experts and specialists that can be discreetly accessed from any location, whether that be on public transport on the way to work, in the lunchroom or sitting on the couch at home.”
Value to your workforce. Value to your bottom line.
What might surprise you is these services not only enrich employee mindset but also strengthen the bottom line.
The financial benefits of employee mental health support are well documented. In Australia alone, businesses face a loss of $4.7 billion due to absenteeism, $6.1 billion to presenteeism (where employees are present in attendance, but are less productive due to illness or injury) and $146 million in compensation claims.iii That’s a total of $10.9 billion lost each year.i
The numbers don’t stop there.
Over the past year, 21 per cent of Australians have taken time off work due to feeling stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy.ii To put that in perspective, for those living with untreated depression, this can amount to three to four sick days taken each and everymonth.i
With half of all employees believing their workplace does not invoke a mentally healthy environment,iii now is the time to take action and have a positive impact.
Employers have a greater responsibility than ever before. 75 per cent of all Australian employees believe a mentally healthy workplace is one of the most important considerations when searching for future jobs, coming second only to remuneration.iii It goes to show, employees have an expectation that their workplace will provide comprehensive mental health support.
“Best Doctor’s Mental Health Navigator brings together the ideal team to assess a patient and their condition, provides quality treatment plans or diagnostic evaluation, and notably improves mental health in the workplace,” said Professor Baune.
With employee productivity, recruitment and retention heavily intertwined with supportive workplace mental health policies, the value of the virtual care approach and its proven outcomes is immeasurable.
Information about how Best Doctors can support your employees can be found at https://bestdoctors.com/australia/for-organisations/industry-solutions/
iii PwC. (2014) ‘Creating a mentally healthy workplace: return on investment analysis’. Accessed online from http://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/beyondblue_workplaceroi_finalreport_ may-2014.pdf
iv TNS (2014). State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia. Melbourne: beyondblue. Accessed online from https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/bl1270-report---tns-the-state-of-mental-health-in-australian-workplaces-hr.pdf?sfvrsn=94e47a4d_8
v Instinct and Reason (2014) Heads up Initiative: Employer of Choice Study. Melbourne: beyondblue. Accessed online from https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/instinct_and_reason_employer_of_choice.pdf?sfvrsn=4