The WorkCover Tasmania Board together with WorkSafe Tasmania has launched a new Mental Health Awareness Campaign raising awareness around mental health hazards that exist at work.

The campaign is titled “Safety is everything” with the major feature being a series of attention grabbing television advertisements.

They ask viewers to spot the person who is not safe, acknowledging that we are used to looking out for traditional safety hazards in the workplace, but are not familiar spotting mental health hazards.

The “Safety is everything” message highlights that our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

The long-term goal is to break down the stigma associated with mental health conditions and create workplaces where it is ok to speak up and seek help. And this starts with creating workplace cultures where mental health is supported and discussed as openly as physical health.

Tasmania’s statistics reveal the total number of workplace injuries has been steadily declining, alarmingly though, the number of mental disease injuries has increased.

In 2018, mental disease injuries made up 8.5 per cent of all workplace injuries reported, almost doubling the 2008 numbers.

These results highlight why more awareness and continual improvement is still needed and why WorkSafe have identified mental health as a priority condition in the 2018-23 WorkSafe Tasmania Strategic Plan.

Mental health is identified in the Strategic Plan as a priority condition based on the severity of consequences of harm(s), the number of people estimated to be affected and the existence of known prevention options.

The most common causes of mental disease injuries in 2018 were work pressure and work related harassment and/or workplace bullying.

Mental disease injuries can impact on workplaces in a number of ways including but not limited to;

• increased staff turnover;
• reduced productivity for example through presenteeism and absenteeism;
• increased number of workplace injuries (claims);
• increasing workers compensation premiums.

WorkSafe is continuing to develop and promote a number of strategies to deliver its promise to the Tasmanian community of being ‘Safe and Well, Every Day’.

These strategies include a focus on targeted harm reduction and building culture and capability.

Ensuring Tasmanians are safe and healthy at work is also one of the Tasmanian Government’s key commitments and the Government has set itself the goal of making Tasmania the healthiest population in Australia by 2025.

The Tasmanian Population Health Survey conducted in 2016 surveyed 6300 Tasmanians.

Thirty percent of  those interviewed sought help for current mental health issues showing an increase in previous years.

Sadly these results are above the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2017-18 National Health Survey results which indicated 20.1 per cent of Australians reported experiencing mental and behavioural conditions.

With mental health affecting so many Tasmanians regardless, WorkSafe is committed to improving awareness around mental health, particularly around mental health hazards at work.

The television advertisements aired for the first time on Saturday, 28 April instilling the message – ‘Safety is Everything’.

Dedicated WorkSafe Mental Health Awareness webpage campaign information and support materials can be found here.