Today marks the start of Mental Health Month in Australia, and this year’s theme is about ‘tuning in’.

It’s all about:

  • Tuning in to yourself and how you are feeling right now.
  • Tuning in to others and what they may be feeling.
  • Tuning in to your communities – what initiatives can you get involved in?
  • Tuning in to stigma, particularly around mental health and wellbeing.

The Mental Health Month website offers all sorts of tips for “tuning in”, as well as some great resources to better understand terms such as mental health, mental ill-health, mental distress and mental illness.

The importance of promoting mental health at work

By 2030, mental illness is projected to cost the global community over $6 trillion USD.

This places the impact of mental illness above that of cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer and diabetes.

People experiencing mental illness are also known to be at a much higher risk of morbidity and early mortality from physical health issues than the general population, a risk exacerbated by the medications used in the treatment of these illnesses.

Moving Mindz CEO Shane Bilsborough said, “This was the opening line to a study clinical psychologist Dr Karen Hallam and I published in 2018 in BMC Psychology looking at the impact of physical activity on mental ill-health. These stats were prior to COVID-19.

It’s projected that we will be faced with a mental health pandemic that will continue for years to come, even after effective treatments for the virus itself have been developed.

In a brilliant article published in the Journal of Occupational medicine by Dr Ray Fabius, entitled: Companies that promote a culture of health, safety and wellbeing outperform in the marketplace, he says:

“In today’s diverse investment fund market, no fund presently focuses primarily on companies that demonstrate a culture of health, safety and wellbeing for their workforce. Health impacts all human performance, but other funds and indices seem to ignore this critical factor. Most employers state that their workforce is their greatest asset.”

In workplaces, good mental health correlates strongly with good wellbeing. In our 2019 dataset, this coefficient of determination was 0.72. Further research by Moving Mindz (soon to be published) shows mental ill-health has increased in 2021 by 10 to 15% compared to 2020.

During this year’s mental health month in October, our data is pointing to very strong practices that can improve mental ill-health. In particular, the opportunity to connect and engage with others is vital. 

Our data shows people who connect with others, whether it be friends, colleagues or family members, have a 10.5% reduction in mental ill-health and a 10.7% increase in overall happiness.

To find out more about our workplace wellness programs, please get in touch!