Home' The Franchise Review : June 2017 Contents 20
THE FRANCHISE REVIEW // SPONSORED ARTICLE
AUSTRALIAN BUSINESSES ON
WORKPLACE MENTAL HEALTH
SuperFriend's groundbreaking work on mental health is
helping employers create workplaces where staff thrive and the
The national mental health promotion foundation, unique to
Australia, and supported by REST Industry Super among other
superannuation funds, is a valuable resource for business.
Reducing mental health risks can lift staff productivity,
and lower absenteeism, employee turnover and workers'
'Every organisation must ensure a mentally healthy
workplace,' says SuperFriend CEO, Margo Lydon. 'Any
company with at least two staff will deal with an employee
who has a mental health condition or is at risk of one, or has
some life challenges, at some point. Companies must tackle
this early and ensure that workplace practices support mental
health and wellbeing.'
Damian Hill, CEO of REST Industry Super and Chair of
SuperFriend, says: 'Workplace mental health and wellbeing
is emerging as a key factor essential to the success and
sustainability of industry. Increasingly, employers are
understanding the return on investment and the benefits
for workers and their organisation when they invest in a
strategic approach to workplace wellbeing'.
Hill adds: 'Many employers share with us that they need some
guidance and support in how to create a mentally healthy
workplace, as it is still a relatively new area for employers.
This is the focus of SuperFriend and its workplace programs.
REST is proud to support SuperFriend, to engage with
employers to influence real change in workplace mental
health and wellbeing, and add value to the lives of our
members and their communities'.
Workplace mental illness is a silent epidemic. About
one in five workers experience mental health challenges
each year, and half of all Australian employees have left
a job because of poor mental conditions, according to
Untreated mental health conditions are estimated to cost
$10.9 billion annually for Australian business. 'Mentally
unhealthy workplaces are a huge cost to individuals and
employers, and they significantly impact families and the
community,' says Lydon.
Yet too many companies ignore this issue, often focusing only
on physical health and safety risks, and ignoring mental health
risks. 'Some companies think they'll open Pandora's box if they
start talking about workplace mental health issues,' says Lydon.
'Instead of being proactive about workplace mental health, they
only react when costly problems emerge.'
Small business and mental health risks
Small business owners, such as franchisees, are particularly
vulnerable to mental health issues in the workplace, says
Lydon. 'Business owners who are stressed are not always
the best at asking for help when they feel mentally unwell.
But the mental health of a franchise workplace relies on the
owner's mental wellbeing. Franchisees should encourage a
conversation around workplace mental health, to ensure that
everyone in the business is supported and able to thrive.'
SuperFriend, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, has
helped hundreds of companies take a consistent, whole
of business approach to implementing mental health and
wellbeing (MHW) strategies. 'We've helped large, medium and
small organisations achieve tangible, sustainable results with
MHW initiatives,' says Lydon.
SuperFriend provides several evidence based tools for
business. The Wellbeing Works program is a 90 minute
assessment that works with a cross section of the firm's
employees to determine the organisation's opportunities and
threats in mental health issues, and identifies the next practical
steps in creating a mentally healthy workplace.
The Mental Health and Wellbeing Training for Staff and
Managers program is a psychologist facilitated seminar (three
to six hours) that provides employees with the confidence,
skills and strategies to ensure that they are safe, supported
and productive at work.
Other SuperFriend programs include online e learning modules
to help employers and staff manage bereavement, grief and
loss; and the Mentally Healthy Retirement program seminar to
help employees transition to retirement.
'SuperFriend's programs and resources cater for all types of
organisations, managers and employees,' says Lydon. 'They
range from short online modules to longer psychologist
facilitated seminars. We continue to receive very positive
feedback on the quality of our programs.'
Franchises have much to gain from creating optimal conditions for employees.
Continued on page 22
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