As many Australians return to work this week, beyondblue is encouraging business leaders to make mental health at work a priority in 2015.

Simple measures such as speaking openly about mental health in the workplace, making information about support available, and checking with workers who may be struggling, could make 2015 a better year for both employees and businesses.

PwC research commissioned by beyondblue as part of Heads Up, an Australian-first campaign about workplace mental health, last year found that every $1 invested in effective mental health strategies in the workplace generates an average $2.30 return.

beyondblue Chairman Jeff Kennett AC said employers should include mental health policies as part of their business model and see the benefits in their bottom line.

“We know untreated mental health conditions cost employers $10.9 billion every year, so it is in a business’ best interest to make changes this year that will improve the mental health of its workforce,” he said.

“Workplaces should always be reevaluating how conditions can be improved to make the business more productive, and concentrating on mental health policies is a great place to start in 2015.”

Last year, more than 4,500 businesses registered their commitment to creating a mentally healthy workplace following the launch of the Heads Up website (www.headsup.org.au), which has practical information available to employers and workers.

beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman said more than six million working days are lost each year due to untreated depression and with one in five Australian workers likely to be experiencing a mental illness it was important for businesses to engage workers as they return to work.

“It is natural to feel a bit down when returning to work but if you are experiencing those feelings for more than two weeks you should seek help,” she said.

“Hopefully most employees will return to work refreshed to begin 2015, and workplaces have a responsibility to promote good mental health by making it a priority this year.”

Employers and workers can find simple actions to look after their mental health and create mentally healthy workplaces by visiting www.headsup.org.au and registering their interest for information and updates.

If you’re need support for your mental health or dealing with a difficult workplace situation, reach out to one of our counsellors on our national counselling directory.

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