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As Australia navigates its way through the COVID-19 pandemic and prepares for the post-lockdown recovery, there has never been a more critical time for organisations and governments to support Australians’ mental health in the workplace. The Black Dog Institute seeks to make this recovery transition better for employees who will be going back to offices.

The Black Dog Institute, a global leader in mental health research and the only medical research institute in Australia to investigate mental health across the lifespan, has released an advisory white paper on workplace mental health, Modern work: how changes to the way we work are impacting Australians’ mental health, with recommendations to change policies and improve strategies to support Australian workers.

“We set out to answer an important question: what impacts have the seismic changes in work over the past 20 years had on the mental health of Australian workers?” says Professor Sam Harvey, Acting Director and Chief Psychiatrist at the Black Dog Institute.

This white paper brings together, for the first time, longitudinal data on Australian work and mental health. It highlights concerning trends that are beginning to emerge, particularly amongst younger workers.

The white paper also includes new analysis of Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey data that demonstrates the significant changes over the past two decades to the way Australians work, and the impact on mental health.

National survey data is also used to examine the increases in mental health symptoms that have been seen, particularly amongst younger Australian workers, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Workplace mental health is an emerging public health crisis and requires immediate attention from both industry and policy makers,” says Professor Harvey.

“There is an urgent need for Australian businesses and governments to act in response to these trends to protect the mental health of our workers—now and for the future.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity to make significant changes in the workplace and focus on approaches that are shown to be most effective in supporting mental wellbeing at work.”

 

Original story from Black Dog Institute. Note: Content has been edited for style and length.

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