Media Release: Better mental health management key to improving workplace wellbeing

21 Feb 2020

Sydney, 21 February 2020 - A more pro-active and structured approach to managing employees' mental health, including early intervention, will help organisations to see positive change in workforce health and wellbeing, according to two Clayton Utz specialists.

Speaking at the National Workers' Compensation Summit in Sydney this week on the theme 'Rethinking mental health', Clayton Utz National Mental Health Manager, Emma Howard and National Health Safety and Wellbeing Manager, Julio Bara said it was important for employers to put in place a prevention and intervention framework to help manage employee mental health and outcomes more effectively.

Emma said that by focusing on the factors that contribute to poor mental health, businesses could better manage the cycle of a person's individual mental health concerns and needs. "There are a mix of factors that contribute to a workplace being mentally healthy.  On the prevention side, we need to educate the leaders of the business about their role in de-stigmatising mental health issues and encouraging open conversations with both their workforce and clients, and looking at how we can change or improve the way we work so people's mental health is not at risk," said Emma. "Work is a big part of most people's lives, so a positive and supportive workplace can mean the difference between people surviving and truly thriving."

Julio said Clayton Utz took a holistic view of health and wellbeing and the various aspects that affect it. "We know that a flexible and inclusive culture that promotes positive attitudes to mental health is a big factor in people's wellbeing. We take a consultative approach that focuses on understanding an individual's needs so we can best support them as they go through different challenges and stages of life."

Clayton Utz continues to focus on mental health education, awareness, training and support as part of its broader approach to health and wellbeing.

To date: 

  • 1 in 8 employees has been trained as Mental Health Champions or Mental Health First Aiders;
  • uptake of the firm's Employee Assistance program, CU Assist, has doubled, with more people taking steps at an early stage to seek help; 
  • by investing in psychological rehabilitation programs that focus on early return to work as key to successful recovery, the firm has seen 72% reduction in claims.

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.