Billions of dollars are being lost every year, and it’s caused by one silent killer – mental ill-health.

Up to 30% of the Australian workforce will suffer from a serious mental health problem at some point in their life, which costs businesses A$10.9 billion every year, according to Beyond Blue.

Around 450 million people currently experience mental ill-health, according to the World Health Organisation. However, as CIPD reports, 85% of people still believe there is a stigma attached to mental health issues.

One of the biggest contributors to an unhealthy mental state is lifestyle, Springfox CEO and Co-Founder Stuart Taylor explained.

“We’re increasingly trying to fit in more in both work and life, and this inevitably puts pressure on us, resulting in stress and feelings of overwhelm,” Taylor told The CEO Magazine .

“Studies suggest by 2030, one in five people will suffer from some kind of mental ill-health,” – Stuart Taylor

As workplaces constantly transform to keep up with the digital evolution, it can lead to instability in mental health.

“Globally, many people are also experiencing large-scale change in their industry, which can lead to a lot of anxiety, hypervigilance and breakdowns in trust,” Taylor says.

De-stigmatising mental ill-health, creating a high-trust culture and encouraging physical activity are some of the steps leaders can take to create a healthy office.

“In our ‘Global Resilience Report’, we found that if individuals adopt an integral approach to mental well-being – that is, taking their body, mind, nutrition, sleep, purpose and passion into consideration – there is a drop in mental ill-health by approximately 30% to 32%,” Taylor says. “Small acts like these can go a long way in helping employees to feel supported.”

3 ways managers can tackle mental ill-health problems

  1. The first step is understanding what mental ill-health looks like and how it affects employees. Know what signs to look out for; breathing fluctuations, changes in eating patterns, difficulty sleeping, low mood, sadness, impaired memory, indecisiveness, catastrophising or appears tense.
  2. Start effective, authentic conversations around mental well-being. However, be aware of what discussion may result in. If someone is experiencing mental ill-health, the company will need the resources to support the employee.
  3. Proactively consider how mental illness could be minimised, whether it’s through policies, resources or creating a high-trust culture.

If you need someone to talk to, contact BeyondBlue: 1300 22 4636, Mens Line Australia: 1300 78 99 78 or Lifeline: 13 11 14.

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