Australian workers’ mental wellbeing ignored, research shows

Kerrie-Anne Chinn, Content & Editorial Manager

Australian businesses are failing to support employees when it comes to mental wellbeing, with some people alarmingly still being told to “toughen up”, according to new research released today.

The Go1 Workplace Wellbeing 2019 survey polled more than 1000 working Australians on how well their workplace manages their mental health.


Alarmingly, 7% of bosses tell employees to "toughen up" when they approach them regarding their mental health. Only 28% advise staff to see a doctor, and 40% simply "do nothing."

Only a third of employees are comfortable talking to their manager about their mental health, with 16% "uncomfortable" and 28% "very uncomfortable."

Employees are also more likely to talk to coworkers (20%) or "no one" (32%) about their mental health, than their manager (18%) or HR (10%).

The national survey was conducted in August 2019 by Go1.com, the world’s largest online training marketplace.

GP and Go1 co-founder Vu Tran said the results are very concerning.

"Australian businesses clearly need to do better. We know that more than 40% of all workers have their productivity, health and family stability impacted substantially as a result of high stress at work, and 50% of all employees leave a workplace because of it being a poor mental health environment," Dr Tran said.

He said that the findings showed “employees’ cry for help had fallen on deaf ears” in a large number of organisations, and that workplaces had to do a far better job at supporting workers’ mental wellbeing.

“As a GP, I’ve seen first-hand how R U OK? Day can save lives.

“It has helped avoid tragedy and transform people’s lives for the better. This has really changed how I view my role as a team member and a leader within my own company, and the role we all play in supporting each other.

“I urge everyone to take the time to ask your workmates the simple question: R U OK? – not just today, but each and every time you suspect something is amiss,” Dr Tran said.

“It makes a really big difference to people’s lives."

According to Dr Tran, many organisations were eager to address employee mental wellbeing but didn’t know where to start.

He said there was an increasing demand for the right training and tools to help organisations achieve their CSR (corporate social responsibility) outcomes, with CSR-related training materials by leading experts and courses authorised by social good experts being the most in demand.

Go1’s new Social Impact Program, officially launched today in conjunction with RUOK Day 2019, helps organisations address three questions:

  1. How confident are you that employees can spot signs of poor wellbeing in themselves and co-workers?
  2. Do your employees know what steps to take when something isn’t right?
  3. How do you and your employees actively work towards a healthy workplace?

"Ideally, managers and leaders will start taking the initiative to improve mental health within their organisations before it reaches the point of crisis. This means everyone in the organisation being aware of mental health issues and domestic violence, having robust policies against bullying and harassment, and clear support networks," Mr Tran said.

"It’s also about actively building resilience and erasing the stigma of mental health. At Go1, we offer many workplace courses in mental health training in partnership with a range of organisations. These give people the ability to recognise mental wellbeing problems, as well as respond to someone who has those issues, including referring them to whomever they need to go to."


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