Business mental health programs have been deemed not fit for purpose, with the productivity costs of the pandemic expected to exceed $20 billion a year.
While 80 per cent of top 500 companies have employee assistance programs, a report by PwC and wellbeing company Sonder found they’re used by just five per cent of workers.
“With so much ongoing change, many existing workplace support systems are no longer fit for purpose,” the report on Monday said.
“This is hardly surprising when the very nature of workplaces has changed so much in such a short space of time.”
The report expected the productivity cost of the COVID-19 pandemic to exceed $20 billion a year due to projected increases in psychological distress, hospitalisations and suicide.
“Mental ill health affects not only an individual, but their entire community of colleagues, friends and family,” the report said.
“It’s difficult for anyone to perform at their full potential when they are worried about, caring for, or taking on extra duties for someone else.
“School closures, job uncertainty and extended restrictions haven’t helped.”
The report also found nearly 90 per cent of millennial employees wanted their workplaces to put in place additional mental health initiatives.
A similar proportion of people who accessed Sonder services wanted to get help using a digital chat, with just nine per cent wanting to call.
Nearly half also wanted support after hours.
One-in-five Australians are expected to struggle with mental health issues throughout their lives.
Lifeline 13 11 14
beyondblue 1300 22 4636
The Fort News