WorkCover Queensland re-appoints Aon as their Mental Health First Aid training partner to staff
Brisbane, 15 March 2019 – WorkCover Queensland has re-appointed Aon as the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training partner to its 850 staff as part of the insurance company’s ongoing commitment to championing a mentally healthy workplace.
Mental Health First Aid is a two-day evidence-based training program that equips WorkCover Queensland employees with the skills and confidence to provide immediate assistance to colleagues and customers who are developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health problem, or experiencing a mental health crisis.
“The training program encourages early intervention and aims to reduce the stigma often associated with mental illness,” said Gary McMullen, Director, Workplace Risk, Aon. “Our first aid programs and mental health webinars help businesses understand how to support staff that are experiencing mental health problems and encourage early help-seeking behaviours.”
Following Aon’s appointment in 2017, over 500 WorkCover Queensland employees were trained in Mental Health First Aid. As part of the ongoing partnership, the program will seek to extend the training and support to over 200 additional new and existing staff throughout the year.
WorkCover Queensland Manager Learning and Development, Nadiene Van Gorp, said mental health first aid training is highly sought after at WorkCover Queensland because of the care and concern the employees have for each other and their customers.
“Mental health first aid training is about helping our people to recognise the symptoms of different mental illnesses early so they can prevent negative long-term impacts on a person’s daily activities and work life,” Nadiene Van Gorp said.
“The program provides guidance on where and how to seek help, and the type of help that has been demonstrated by research to be effective. The course has been well-received among colleagues.”
McMullen said that workplaces and managers are in a unique position to influence an individual's wellbeing.
"When people don't have the skills and confidence to approach someone that they think may be experiencing a mental health problem, there is a very real risk of not only the condition becoming chronic, but for a negative impact on engagement and productivity."
In addition to the moral imperative, studies have shown that there are financial repercussions that companies can incur from mismanaged mental health in the workforce, McMullen advised.
Mental illnesses cost Australian businesses an estimated $10.9 billion every year in absenteeism, reduced productivity and compensation claims1. By developing an integrated approach to mental health in the workplace that considers support, as well as prevention of psychosocial hazards, and promotion of protective factors in the work environment, businesses can improve productivity and create more engaged employees.
WorkCover Queensland has provided tailored workers' compensation insurance solutions to over 160,000 Queensland businesses since 1997. WorkCover has maintained one of Australia’s lowest average premium rates since 2015 by continuously investing in efficient online customer services, expert in-house claims management capability and targeted benefits to employers and injured workers.
1 PwC PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia, 2014. Creating a mentally healthy workplace: Return on investment analysis.
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