26 Jan 2019

Workplace mental health package launched

8:12 am on 26 January 2019

The Mental Health Foundation has created a series of resources to highlight mental health in the workplace, while appealing for workplace stress to be taken seriously in 2019.

Stock photo.

Stock photo. Photo: 123rf.com

The foundation has created a package of information, worksheets and activities designed to help employers identify factors that could affect mental health in their organisation.

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson said there were hidden costs to workplace stress.

"These really negatively impact - on staff morale, on teamwork, on creativity, on customer service, on productivity, on recruitment - and all these things go directly to the bottom line."

High workloads, poor work-life balance and stressful work were named as the top three causes of poor mental health at work, in a Mental Health Foundation survey carried out in March last year.

"How we feel at work impacts not just our ability to work well, but our relationships with our colleagues, whānau, friends and communities," Mr Robinson said.

"When our mental health is impacted by stress at work, the effects ripple out into our home and whānau lives and prevent us from flourishing."

Shaun Robinson

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The most up-to-date estimate of related costs, a workplace survey published in 2015, suggested poor mental health in the workplaces may be costing the economy billions of dollars a year.

Workers missed about 6.7 million work days in 2014 because of mostly minor illnesses, it showed, coming at a direct cost of about $1.5 billion a year.

Mental health and wellbeing have been identified as a priority for businesses, and the government aims to include wellbeing as a measure of the economic health of New Zealand.

The Ministry of Business and Innovation and Employment and The Health and Safety Association of New Zealand also provides resources to employers on the business.govt.nz website.

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