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Organisational efforts that address workers’ mental health should bring benefits both for the individual and for the employer or the organisation as a whole. From the individual’s perspective, this would include psychological well-being and from the employer’s perspective, this would result in reduced absenteeism and presenteeism and increased employee engagement and productivity.

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In a review of organisational case studies, PwC UK found that 45 out of 55 case studies reported reduced absenteeism resulting from wellness interventions. The average reduction in absenteeism across the cases reviewed was around 30-40%.

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Investing in creating a more mentally healthy workplace results in employees who are more engaged, more motivated. The workforce will also have higher morale and staff are more likely to go above and beyond their job requirements.

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46% of Australians working in a workplace they consider mentally unhealthy have taken time off from work in the past 12 months because they felt stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy.

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Individuals not being appropriately supported can have a flow on effect to co-workers if problems continue to be un-managed e.g. without the right adjustments in work, an employee may require time off. This means co-workers have increased workload, and there are turnover costs from recruitment and training new employees when someone is taking time off or leaves the organisation. 

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The average costs of presenteeism (reduced productivity when working whilst unwell) far exceeds those attributable to absenteeism. Overall the average annual cost per employee associated with presenteeism was estimated at $1680. This is more than double the estimated cost of absenteeism.

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In a review of organisational case studies PwC found that 18 case studies noted a reduction in turnover (due to improved retention and/or return to work rates) due to well-being interventions. The average reduction in turnover was 20-25%.

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Mental ill-health costs employers an average of $3,200 per employee with mental illness per annum in absenteeism and presenteeism, and up to $5,600 for employees with severe mental illness.

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Costs associated with not addressing psychological health and safety in the workplace can include costs and time related to: stress-related illnesses, absenteeism, presenteeism, turnover, short- and long-term disability, benefit utilisation rates, workers’ compensation claims, return to work and accommodation, employee and family assistance plan use, workplace grievances, workplace conflict, health and safety infractions, human rights violations, and adverse events.

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Early intervention (specifically early identification and facilitating access to quality mental health care) is associated with a 492% ROI (calculated by comparing early intervention and treatment costs with subsequent reduction in absenteeism and improvement in work performance).

Whiteford, HA, Sheridan, J, Cleary, CM, & Hilton, MF (2005). The work outcomes research cost-benefit (WORC) project: The return on investment for facilitating help seeking behaviour. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 39(2).