Businesses and mental health advocacy groups are supporting a new KPMG plan that details how investing in mental health support could financially benefit businesses and improve the mental health of their employees.
The plan states a $4.4 billion government investment in these measures, such as workplace reforms and suicide prevention, could provide an annual short-term saving of $8.2 billion and a long-term saving of $12.7 billion. Alongside the financial benefits for businesses, this investment would also improve the mental wellbeing of employees, which can result in higher productivity and less sick days.
Editor for the video game news site Rely on Horror, Chris Melendez said mental health days are important for employees.
“Our policy is that, if you are in a bad place whatsoever, whether it be financial, mental or personal, you take however long you need until you are comfortable to resume work,” Mr Melendez said.
“Mental health days should be considered sick days. The major difference is that while a cold may come and go, mental health is a persistent and ongoing battle that can only be addressed with proper care and positive reinforcement.”
According to the Australian Human Rights Commision, around 45 per cent of Australians aged between 16 and 85 will experience mental illness.
Mindframe has estimated that 14 per cent of Australians will be affected by an anxiety disorder over a 12-month period, while 4 per cent will experience a major depressive episode over the same period. This results in a total of 3.2 days per worker lost each year due to workplace stress and compensation claims have recently doubled, costing $10 billion each year.
Safework Australia details the mental health of employees can be affected by numerous factors, such as; poorly designed or managed work environment, mentally, physically or emotionally demanding work, and excessive and prolonged work pressures.