Mental health and drug and alcohol issues of directors, managers, staff and contractors are having a negative impact on companies across New Zealand and internationally.

Statistics show that 20% of all staff and customers will have mental health issues in any 12 month period, and that 60 to 80% of workplace accidents and 40% of staff turnover have stress or mental illness as the root cause.

Depression alone is estimated in economic terms to reduce workplace performance by 40% and the estimated annual revenue lost to an employer (in sick days and poor productivity) by an employee with untreated depression is $9,660.00 (J. Croucher, Professor of statistics, Macquarie University).

The positive side of employing and supporting staff with mental health issues is that people with mental health concerns who are supported in the workplace take less time off work and recover significantly faster. In fact, preliminary research is pointing to the possibility that people who are treated and supported actually take less time off work than people who do not have mental illness or are undiagnosed.

Employers who are educated in mental health, who are accepting and compassionate will:

  •  act as good role models;
  • know how to recognise stress and mental illness in others;
  • know how to manage staff with mental health issues;
  • prevent and de-escalate risk to their staff and customers mental health;
  • and safely and effectively manage acute crisis.

For human and financial reasons, it makes sense for business owners to learn and then implement strategies to manage mental health, as outlined above.
This article is intended as a point of reference and should not be relied on as a substitute for professional advice. Specialist advice should always be sought in relation to any particular circumstances and no liability will be accepted for any losses incurred by those relying solely on this article.