There is a quiet crisis in Australian workplaces that, for many workers, can too easily pass unrecognised… until too late. Work-stress, excessive hours, prolonged heavy workloads, job insecurity, unreasonable demands, bullying and harassment are strongly linked to increased risk of depression and anxiety, and of substance-use disorders and suicide.

It is, in fact, a breach of the Work Health and Safety Act (2011) to fail to provide a safe work environment, free of avoidable risk of mental injury. But we each have a part to play in the solution, to examine our own workplace behaviours, to foster positive workplace norms and to be alert to signs of psychological stress.

It may not be widely known, but, in Australian workplaces, more days of work are lost due to mental disorder than from any other illness, injury or chronic condition.

To address this ‘epidemic’, ADA Australia is proud to offer The Little Blue Book of WORKPLACE MENTAL HEALTH. Its aim is to promote examination of work systems, practices, work culture and environments and to provide easily-instituted solutions for fostering mentally healthy workplaces.

It also aims to raise awareness of psychological injury, to assist in recognising those who may be struggling, and how to get conversations going to ‘break the ice’ and help them onto a path to good health.

Tackling this across the business – taking a good long look at workplace culture and environment – is not hard, and the benefits to business are well-documented.

The upside is that a well-managed workplace – where people feel valued, supported and always safe – is not only beneficial to mental health and wellbeing, it is also good for productivity.

The Little Blue Book is designed to:

  • Provide practical information to workplaces on fostering mentally healthy work-systems and workplace cultures
  • Assist managers, team leaders and co-workers to recognise and understand disorders such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicide
  • Provide practical strategies on approaching and assisting co-workers who may be struggling with these disorders

And what is the cost of inactivity? Well, besides being a breach of The Act, work stress ‘costs’: it costs business in absenteeism and increased WorkCover claims, it costs the community through increased healthcare and social costs, it costs families, and it costs lives.

The real question to be asked is: “Can you afford not to invest in a healthy workforce?”

  • As many as one-in-five Australians have taken time off work in the past 12 months because they have felt stressed, depressed or mentally unhealthy.
  • $8.0billion is the cost to Australian business of depression (and, of this, $693million is due to job strain or bullying).
  • Workers experiencing psychological distress, take four-times as many sick days per month as those not experiencing psychological distress.
  • This comes at a cost of $6309 per affected worker, per annum.
  • 91% of workers’ compensation claims involving a mental disorder are attributed to work-related stress or mental stress
  • Of the Australian population, 14.4% will experience anxiety disorder over a lifetime; 8.9% will experience depression and bipolar disorder, and 5.1% will suffer a substance use disorder. (SOURCE: Safe Work Australia (Australian Workplace Barometer Project)

Business, the community, each of us, has a part to play in the solution. The Little Blue Book is for all at your workplace – for ‘the shop floor’, for managers and team leaders.

To secure your copy, call ADA Australia on 1300 378 429 or email: [email protected]