Mental  ills cost  business billions
Big problem: beyondblue has launched a national campaign to convince businesses to do more to look after the mental wellbeing of workers. Picture: Getty Images

Mental health problems are costing Australian employers more than $10 billion a year in lost productivity and compensation, according to a report.

Australia's peak depression support group beyondblue has launched a national campaign to convince businesses to do more to look after the mental wellbeing of their workers.

The group is targeting the hip pocket, arguing that for every $1 workplaces invest in mental health measures, they get a return of $2.30.

The Heads Up campaign, run in conjunction with the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance, uses the message "If you're not investing in mental health, you're losing money".

A PricewaterhouseCoopers report found the impact of employees' mental health conditions on productivity, participation and compensation claims cost Australian employers at least $10.9 billion a year.

Beyondblue said some employers shied away from addressing their workers' mental health issues but they could not afford to keep doing so.

Chairman Jeff Kennett said the report provided a compelling case for businesses to back the campaign, which would give practical advice about the importance of mental health in the workplace.

"One in five Australian workers is experiencing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety right now, but sadly too many workplaces still do not realise the importance of their employees' mental health," he said.

"This report shows that employers have a responsibility, not only to their workers but also to their businesses' profitability, to tackle these conditions at work."

The campaign is being funded by the National Mental Health Commission and details are at headsup.org.au.

The West Australian

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