To kickstart the 2016 Queensland Mining and Engineering Exhibition (QME), Resource Industry Network will host a Mental Health Awareness Breakfast tomorrow morning (July 26) featuring guest speaker Craig Hamilton.
Mr Hamilton is an ABC sports journalist and after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2000, he is now a mental health advocate and ambassador for Beyond Blue.
According to Mr Hamilton mental illness in the workplace costs Australian businesses a staggering $6.5 billion every year.
“The cost of undiagnosed and untreated mental illness can have a devastating effect on an individual and their family, as well as costing an employer a significant amount in lost productivity.
“Ignoring the problem and believing it doesn’t exist, or is too complex, is counterproductive.
“By implementing a more structured plan to educate and support all employees in the mental health area, I believe employers would reduce their overall costs and increase productivity.”
Some may argue that there is still a perception that workplace mental health training and things like conducting information sessions on site are costs businesses can’t afford.
Craig said he would argue that businesses cannot afford not to invest in them.
RIN Director Mick Crowe said raising awareness of mental illness was the only way to ensure there was change.
“Employers must lead from the front and be proactive about wiping away stigma when it comes to mental illness.
“Making mental health part of the everyday conversation and educating employees about what signs they should look for in their workmates should be given the same investment as ensuring employees’ physical safety,” Mr Crowe said.
Craig Hamilton adds that people recover from mental illness every day.
“It does not have to be a permanent disability. The time has come to change the way we view mental health in our workplaces.”
Resource Industry Network’s Mental Health Awareness Breakfast, sponsored by Workplace Health & Safety Queensland, starts at 6.45am at the MECC.