Mental health stigma

Mental health stigma still affecting Australian workers, with research showing 4 in 10 hide depression from employers

By Matthew Grimson

Four out of 10 Australians who take sick leave for depression keep it hidden from their employer, with almost half fearing their job would be compromised if they revealed their illness.

A SANE Australia study of 1,000 workers found Australians were almost twice as likely not to tell their boss they are suffering depression, compared to their European counterparts.

SANE’s research, which focused exclusively on depression, found Australians on average had taken 14.6 days sick leave for their last depressive episode, compared to the 35.9 days reported by workers in Europe.

Of those who chose not to disclose they were suffering depression, around half felt it was a private issue that was none of their employer’s business.

SANE Australia chief executive Jack Heath says the results suggest stigma surrounding mental health in Australian workplaces is a major problem.

You can do things in terms of increasing awareness and understanding, but unless you get those changes in attitude around stigma then you don’t get changes in behaviour.

SANE chief executive Jack Heath

“We know Australians in the workplace with depression don’t feel comfortable raising the issue,” he said…

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The 15th International Mental Health Conference theme “Mental Health: Innovation | Integration | Early Intervention”, will focus on Suicide, Dementia, Depression, Personality Disorders and Trauma.

Keynote addresses, submitted papers, workshops and case studies will examine how approaches and techniques can be incorporated into daily practice. Abstract submission opens 15th November 2013.

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