Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean is today launching a new workplac e intervention program, a new website with free support and resources, and additional
funding to help drought-affected farm workers living with mental illness and distress.
“We know about one in six workers will experience significant mental illness in any four
week period. Because mental illness can sometimes reoccur, the proportion of the workforce experiencing this in any year may be even higher,” Mr Kean said.
“When mental health challenges arise, it can often mean time off work. But returning to work is an important step in recovery because it can help give structure and a sense of purpose.”
The new initiatives include:
- A program of Mentally Healthy Workplaces Ambassadors, including Landcom,
by John Brogden, to raise awareness of the importance of workplace mental health;
- Access to free, tailored SafeWork NSW training for at least 3,600 managers
around NSW to improve awareness and support of mental illness;
- A website, which has free support and resources for managers
and workers about workplace mental health; and
- A funding boost of $100,000 for the Virtual Psychologist service, which will give
additional 1,100 farmers access to critical psychological counselling support in real time.
“This is the first stage of the $55 million Mentally Healthy Workplaces strategy, which represents the single-biggest investment in workplace mental health in the country’s history,” Mr Kean said.
“Mental health-related absenteeism is estimated to cost the NSW economy $1.5 billion annually. This strategy will play a critical role in improving people’s lives while maximising the State’s productivity.”
Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies said
the strategy was developed in consultation with people with lived experience of mental illness, as well as academics, advocates ,
industry and worker representatives.