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Worker Mental Health To Take Centre Stage

Keeping Victorian workers healthy in mind as well as body will be the key focus of a new initiative that empowers bosses to make mental health a priority in the workplace.

The new $50 million WorkHealth program includes a free, interactive online platform that will act as a go-to site for businesses to access the latest advice, research and support on workplace mental health and wellbeing.

It allows employers to conduct a mental health check on their business, employ specially tailored support programs and link like-minded businesses together.

WorkHealth also includes a $17 million innovation fund to kickstart new initiatives and expand existing workplace mental health and wellbeing programs.

Minister for Finance Robin Scott and Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley today launched WorkHealth at the Arts Centre Melbourne, which currently leads the Arts Wellbeing Collective – a consortium working together to achieve better mental health outcomes for creative industries workers.

This group suffers high levels of depression and twice the number of suicide attempts as the general population.

Mental health continues to be a significant concern in the community, with WorkSafe Victoria recording more than 3,100 mental disorder claims last year, or about 12 per cent of total claims.

WorkSafe will fund and manage the five-year WorkHealth program, with the assistance of the Department of Health and Human Services.

WorkHealth – which was developed by a special advisory group including government, business and union representatives – is set to go live early next year to coincide with a major public awareness campaign. You can visit workhealth.vic.gov.au for further details.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Finance Robin Scott

“A happy worker is a good worker – we want all businesses and workers signing up to make mental health a priority in the workplace.”

“Employers tell us mental health support can be confusing to navigate and we’ve listened.

“WorkHealth will be able to deliver the right tools and advice straight into their hands.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley

“We know around 20 per cent of Victorians are experiencing mental health concerns – this program will equip the community to have the tools to staying mentally well.”

“It is essential employers have measures in place that not only minimise risks to mental health but promote health for employees.”

Quote attributable to Advisory Group chairman Todd Harper

“We have drawn on a broad range of expertise and experience to design WorkHealth, and we are confident it will make a real difference to lives of Victorian workers.”