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Lack of mental illness support in the workplace

26 August 2011 - 3:09pm

Australian workers living with mental illness are not receiving adequate support in the workplace, according to the results of a new study.

National mental health charity SANE Australia looked at the experiences of workers and their management team, revealing a gap in education and support.

95 per cent of respondents stated that their employers and managers lacked sufficient knowledge about mental illness and how to address it in the workplace.

Health at work is a huge concern for many staff who want to feel as if their wellbeing is also a priority of their employer.

As a result, corporate health insurance plans have become a appealing benefit for employers to use for attracting and retaining staff, alongside additional programs which focus on exercise and healthy eating.

Workers believe that training and education programs would help them implement a mental illness-friendly environment with provisions for flexible working arrangements - including being able to work from home or part time when necessary.

SANE Australia’s executive director Barbara Hocking says: "With one in five Australians experiencing some form of mental illness every year, we are talking about a significant number of people who face difficulties in the workplace."