Strategising for better cognitive health in the workforce


Workplaces are obligated to provide employees with a safe and healthy workplace but mental health and wellbeing is often-neglected by employers.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics have found that in 2020-21, 15 per cent of Australians aged 16-85 years experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress. According to Heads Up, only 52 per cent of employees believe their workplace is mentally healthy, compared to 76 per cent for physical safety, with only five in ten employees believing their most senior leaders value mental health.  

One in five Australian’s (21 per cent) have taken time off work in the past 12 months because they felt stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy. This statistic doubles (46 per cent) in workplaces that employees consider mentally unhealthy.  

There is a shift in attitude, in favour of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, with evidence that mental health days in the Australian corporate world increasing, with mental illness costing the economy between $200 billion and $220 billion a year pushing employers to improve the mental wellbeing of their workforces.  

Mental health first aider, Carli Phillips, will present at the event.

The Workplace Health & Safety Show (20-21 September 2022) at the Sydney Showgrounds will cover essential topics around psychological health in the workplace with top industry leaders holding live, illuminating, two-way talks.

“The psychological wellbeing of employees in the workplace is tantamount to healthy living, which should be a priority for all employers, and something all employees should always be conscious of and striving for,” International Exhibition & Conference Group CEO Marie Kinsella said.

“There are some wonderful speakers coming in September to inform workers of the world’s best practices in workplace mental health and safety that we hope will empower businesses to better support the mental wellbeing of their employees.”  

Carli Phillips, a mental health first aider, will present evidence based research on the importance of creating wellbeing programs to ensure a mentally health workplace. 

Presenting a talk on managing psychosocial hazards in the workplace will be Ian Firth, SafeWork NSW’s state inspector, exploring practicable ideas about implementing the Code of Practice and where improvements can be made.  

Libby Roberts, the CEO of Workplace Rehabilitation Providers, will present a talk demystifying the strategies for workplace mental health in order to understand how to get the biggest ROI on your WHS budget.  

Tim O’Brien, author and CEO of Alcohol and Drug Awareness Australia will present a talk focusing on stress, anxiety and burnout in small business owners, examining the impact of external factors on psychosocial risk carried by owner-operators and how a supportive and consultative workplace culture provides wellbeing benefits to both management and employees.  

Attitudes towards open discussions and strategies on mental health in our lives, communities and workplaces are becoming more welcoming in favour of the wellbeing of employees and we love to see it.  

The Workplace Health & Safety Show Sydney will take place on Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 September 2022. Registration to attend the Workplace Health & Safety Show is free, register online here. 

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