Understanding mental health problems can benefit workplace productivity

The head of the union movement and a former Liberal Party chief minister will appear on a unity ticket over industrial relations during addresses to be delivered at the National Press Club on Wednesday.

ACTU president Ged Kearney and former chief minister Kate Carnell will discuss the issue of achieving better productivity through healthier workplaces. The pair agree that mental health issues are better discussed with bosses than being ignored in the workplace.

Ms Carnell, who is now the chief executive of beyondblue, said employers should study her group's e-learning programs about taking work-related stress issues seriously.

''Our online interactive programs address the myths and misconceptions around depression and anxiety and would be helpful for employers, managers and staff,'' she said.

''In coming months, more e-learning programs will be added to the website including ones on how to have a conversation with someone you're concerned about and managing employees' return to work.''

The press club appearance marks the launch of Go Home on Time Day, an initiative of the Australia Institute.

New research by the institute will be revealed showing that one in two Australians would feel uncomfortable discussing issues about mental health with their manager.

The institute's executive director Richard Denniss said 43 per cent of employees surveyed reported their managers were poorly skilled in discussing sensitive workplace issues. ''The survey shows that Australian workers find talking about mental health issues with their manager far harder than any other workplace issue,'' he said.

''Those working for small businesses were nearly twice as likely as their colleagues in bigger organisations to report that their overall workplace culture is 'very good'. They were also twice as likely to report that their manager's skills in holding conversations about mental health problems were 'very good' than those working for larger employers.''

The story Understanding mental health problems can benefit workplace productivity first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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