The mental health “one in five” statistic examined for validity

This blog has a policy of linking to source documents wherever possible. Recently I investigated the origin of the statement, and its variations:

“In a 12 month period, 20 per cent of Australians will experience a mental health condition.”

Clarity on this is going to be important as Australia has several formal inquiries relating to mental health and this statement often crops up in strategy documents and policies related to occupational health and safety (OHS).

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Fels sets the scene for inquiries into workplace mental health

Earlier this week former chair of the Australian Government’s National Mental Health Commission, Allan Fels (pictured right) addressed a lunch hosted by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.  The topicality of his presentation stemmed from two major inquiries into mental health – one by the Federal Government and undertaken by the Productivity Commission (PC), the other is a Royal Commission from the Victorian Government.  The breadth of the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the PC inquiry has generated a very broad level of interest across the social spectrum.  The Royal Commission ToR are yet to be released.

Fels acknowledged the role that workplaces have in addressing mental health

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Notification of mental health incidents

Australia’s entertainment and performing arts sector is gradually attending to the workplace mental health risks that are inherent, or have been shown to be problematic, in their industry. However it continues to operate in isolation rather than facing the reality and magnitude of the problems and the challenges facing lots of industries who have only recently discovered their psychosocial hazards.

The latest edition of Dance Australia magazine contains an interview with Chloe Dallimore,* President of Equity, a division of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), which illustrates the willingness to change, but still within limits.  Occupational health and safety (OHS) obligations are hardly mentioned, nor is the role of the OHS regulators.  Perhaps it is time to include mental health as a workplace incident or condition that should be notifiable under law.

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Gender, violence, Batty, Hulls and business preparedness

Recently the Victorian Women Lawyers conducted a seminar into the outcomes of Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence.  SafetyAtWorkBlog attended even though the topic seems, initially, to have a tenuous link to occupational health and safety (OHS).  Family violence is relevant to OHS through its influence on workplace mental ill-health, productivity and the need for cultural…

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