Media Release 3 March 2021

Victorian Chamber urges business to prioritise mental health in 2021

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is encouraging employers to prioritise the mental wellbeing of their workplaces as we continue to battle the economic and psychological impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and transition to a hybrid working model.

The Victorian Chamber is available to support businesses in this process and is offering free mental health training and consulting to small and medium sized businesses who employ young workers and want to create mentally healthy workplaces.

On Tuesday, the State Government released the Final Report into Victoria’s Mental Health System. One of the report’s recommendations is to establish mentally healthy workplaces including resources to assist employers and employees to promote good mental health in workplaces, address workplace barriers to good mental health and sponsor industry-based trials to demonstrate how to adapt and implement comprehensive mentally healthy workplace approaches in an industry context (recommendation 16).

The Mental Health Essentials program is available to all Victorian businesses, not just Chamber members. The program also allows businesses access to mental health resources via the Mental Health Essentials resource page.

One hundred and forty-five metropolitan and regional small and medium businesses have participated in the program since its inception in 2019 across a range of industries.

Program participants to date have committed to addressing the work-related factors that contribute to workplace stress, including ensuring employees have clear job expectations, improve the way workloads are managed and addressing incivility in the workplace.

The Victorian Chamber is inviting registrations for the program in 2021 via

The program has assisted participants to educate their managers and employees, incorporate mental wellbeing into their business plans, change management practices, ensure workloads are balanced and include mental health in their policies and procedures.

The Mental Health Essentials program is supported by WorkSafe’s Work Well Mental Health Improvement Fund.

To be attributed to Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra:

It is estimated that the economic cost of poor mental health to Victoria is $14.2 billion a year and employers have an obligation to be proactive to ensure they are looking after their people. It’s the right thing to do ethically and morally but it also makes financial sense to prevent mental health issues in the workplace from escalating.

“Working from home and the hybrid work environment pose new challenges because we know that it is so much harder to monitor employees mental wellbeing when we are not seeing them in person on a regular basis. There’s also the loneliness factor, lack of interpersonal relationships and connection and even a loss of our sense of identity as we struggle to separate home life from work life.

The Final Report into Victoria’s Mental Health System recognises the importance of establishing mentally healthy workplaces. The Victorian Chamber is passionate about supporting employers to provide mentally healthy workplaces and invites all metropolitan and regional businesses to start 2021 on the right foot by registering for this free program.

“Having run the largest workplace health organisation in Asia Pacific for five years earlier in my career, I have a genuine understanding of how important it is to look after mental health in the workplace. It is not always understood and it is not always recognised but it is absolutely something that we need to turn our attention to.”

Media Contact

All media enquiries may be directed to the Media and Communications Manager

03 8662 5310

0423 883 945

For all other enquiries please contact the Victorian Chamber on 03 8662 5333

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