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Date PostedJuly 24, 2012

White Card Update: OH&S includes Mental Health

Government launches National E-Health Mental Portal

Awesome news for the Work Force in Australia is the introduction of a National E-Health Mental Portal by government. This shows government’s commitment to not only physical health but the mental state of workers. Much attention is given to work site safety, but mental helath is just as important and warrants attention.

According to the law, employers have a responsibility for the health and safety of their workers, that includes their mental health. This new portal is an opportunity for employers to gain valuable information on mental health issues and will allow users to access treatment information online, avoiding what some perceive as embarrassing face-to-face consultation. Due to the perceived embarrassment many workers avoid seeking help and simply live with the problem, now they will be able to access valuable information and treatment anonymously.

According to the Safety Institute of Australia:

Do you have workers who are experiencing workplace stress? A great new information source for people interested in mental health has been unveiled with Australia’s first national e-mental health online portal launched by Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler.

Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler said the launch of the site delivered one of the key objectives of the Government’s new e-Mental Health Strategy, which was also released today and is now available for download at mindhealthconnect.org.au

Butler notes “We know that one in five Australians will experience a mental illness every year. We also know less than half of these people will seek treatment.

“This portal will allow people to access information and treatment as an alternative to traditional face-to¬ face services, in their own time, in an environment in which they’re comfortable,” Mr Butler said. “Mindhealthconnect provides Australians with a pathway to trusted online therapy services and crisis support services as well as information on high prevalence conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Source: http://www.sia.org.au/news/updates/national-e-mental-health-portal.html

This is to be Australia’s first e-mental health portal and is a trustworthy source of information to the nation. Mental health is an area often ignored by workers and employers and can have serious consequences such as suicide. According to the government’s research 1 in 5 Australians will experience mental health problems in their lifetime, however only half would actually seek medical help.

Bullying, a problem that has long plagued Australian work sites, can also exacerbate the problem of mental illness or can actually be caused by it. Stress, anxiety and depression are just a few of the mental illnesses that can be helped by the information on the site.

This report on Health.com.au has more on the launch:

Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler said the launch of the site delivered one of the key objectives of the Government’s new e-Mental Health Strategy, which was also released today and is now available for download at mindhealthconnect.org.au

“We know that one in five Australians will experience a mental illness every year. We also know less than half of these people will seek treatment.

“This portal will allow people to access information and treatment as an alternative to traditional face-to­face services, in their own time, in an environment in which they’re comfortable,” Mr Butler said.

“Mindhealthconnect provides Australians with a pathway to trusted online therapy services and crisis support services as well as information on high prevalence conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Evidence backs the use of online and telephone services to assist those suffering mild to moderate mental disorders and distress, and it can also help combat barriers to conventional therapy.”

Mr Butler said further services and information to be implemented later in the year include an online virtual clinic, information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and information on alcohol and other drugs, eating disorders and other severe mental illnesses.

“The Labor Government’s e-Mental Health Strategy sets out a vision for an accessible, high-quality and integrated system to further embed online care as a regular feature of the health care system.

“The delivery of e-mental health services will be further improved as the National Broadband Network rolls out to every home and business in the country,” he said.

Source: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/mr-yr12-mb-mb062.htm

 So whether you, a friend, co-worker or employee is suffering from what you suspect may be mental illness, visit the portal and commit to improving mental health in your workplace or circle of friends.

Posted by Steven Asnicar

 

Steven Asnicar is regarded as a leader across many fields of industry. In particular, his specialisation across the health, infrastructure, construction, resource and utility sectors has seen him successfully change the dynamics of these industries through the introduction of new strategic, marketing, training and technical frameworks. Steven works closely with industry peak bodies such as Safework Australia, Australian Logistics Council, National Advisory for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (NATESE) and the Council of Australian Governments in the development of new delivery standards and industry specific programs.

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