Black Dog Institute’s white paper looks at modern work and mental health of working Australians

Professor Sam Harvey, Acting Director and Chief Psychiatrist at the Black Dog Institute

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 Australian’s mental health in the workplace.

The Black Dog Institute 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.

The Black Dog Institute releases white paper

“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, longitudinal data on Australian work and mental health, highlighting concerning trends that are beginning to emerge among young 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 examines the increase in mental health symptoms that has been seen, particularly amongst younger Australian workers since the beginning of the pandemic.

“Workplace mental health is an emerging public health crisis and requires immediate attention from stakeholders such as 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 pandemic provides an opportunity to make changes in the workplace and focus on approaches that are shown to be effective in supporting mental wellbeing at work.”

The white paper provides five recommendations for business and six for governments.