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Increasingly, Mental Health First Aid is recognised as an equally important part of workplace health and safety along with physical first aid training. Providing early intervention and support at work can reduce the impact of mental health issues.


t has been estimated that untreated mental health issues cost Australian workplaces $10.9 billion in lost productivity each year1. There also appears to be a wide lack of knowledge and understanding when it comes to dealing with mental health issues in the workplace. Workplace health and safety first aid has come a long way since the days of a medicine cabinet with a bottle of antiseptic and a package of bandages — Red Cross is now offering mental health workshops for the workplace. Red Cross trainer Anthony Cameron said mental health training is as equally important as traditional first aid training. “Mental illness is statistically very common and with people spending so much time at work it is likely a person may display warning signs at work.” With this in mind, Red Cross has developed a suite of training workshops called Mental Health Matters designed to help employees and management cope with mental health issues and create mentally healthy workplaces. As the Workplace Health and Safety Coordinator for QBE Australia, Michelle Delantar recognised the importance of learning more about mental health issues in the workplace. Therefore, she looked into the accredited training in Mental Health First Aid offered by Red Cross Training Services, which QBE began partnership with in 2014 for the delivery of first aid training. “Never assume to know what people in your workplace want,” said Delantar. “We invited Red Cross to run information sessions on mental health awareness in our offices nationally and received great feedback from all levels of our staff. We are now looking to run one-day courses in mental health in the workplace.” Whether personal or work related, everyone responds to stress and challenges differently. The ability to cope and the level of resilience will also


vary. A workforce that has a healthy sense of self-esteem and wellbeing can help to minimise absenteeism, loss of productivity, reduced team cohesion and error rates. Stigmatising attitudes towards mental illness may prevent people from seeking help early. “Learning more about mental health and having the skills to provide early intervention and support is just one part of the bigger picture,” said Delantar. “At QBE we want to see the stigma removed and encourage open discussion by providing a safe environment, which is a great result for everyone.” “Research shows that more than six million working days are lost every year in Australia due to mental illness,” said Cameron. “Creating a mentally healthy workplace leads to less absenteeism, better creativity and productivity, as well as improved physical health.” A PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) report1 explains that businesses that invest in positive mental health practices are more likely to see reduced illness in the workplace and teams that perform and thrive, returning an average of $2.30 for every $1 spent on mental health training. Red Cross recommends that all workplaces include Mental Health Matters workshops as part of their workplace health and safety strategies. For more information about Red Cross Training Services courses, visit or call 1300 367 428. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Creating a mentally healthy workplace — Return on investment analysis, March 2014. 1

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Safety Solutions Apr/May 2016  

Launched in April 2003, this bi-monthly magazine provides vital information on safety products and services in the industrial, construction,...

Safety Solutions Apr/May 2016  

Launched in April 2003, this bi-monthly magazine provides vital information on safety products and services in the industrial, construction,...