Chamber of Commerce and Industry Western Australia

My name is Deidre Willmott. I’m the Chief
Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia. The stigma
of mental health issues has always been a big barrier to properly recognising the importance
of mental health and also properly addressing mental health issues when they do arise. I think one of the biggest challenges for
business today is probably a lack of understanding around the depths of this problem. Any support
measures or policies or initiatives that can be put in place to help educate businesses,
inform them about the types of policies and programs that are available is certainly going
help them in the longer term build that productive workforce. Regional businesses are unique in the fact
that they are in smaller communities, so there tends to be a closer community feel and how
they’re addressing mental health issues is they tend to be involved in a lot more things
than just their own business. So, there’s a lot of incredible mental health groups in
regional communities and a lot of business owners are part of those groups and just making
sure that their workplaces are mentally health aware. We’ve seen awareness of mental health issues
rising over the last few years. Our employee-relations advice center receives more and more questions
from employers wanting advice on how they should manage mental health issues, how they
can work to create a mentally healthy workplace. It’s something that we’ve also been working
on as an employer with our 300 employees raising awareness of the importance of mental health,
training mental health first aid officers. All our managers have had mental health training. The Heads Up initiative is an important program
to the extent that it can help inform and educate businesses right across the state
around what programs are available to help them support their employees deal with mental
health issues. I think the Heads Up tool that’s been designed
and launched is an incredible resource for regional business owners all over this state.
It gives you access to great information, tips, advice, resources. So, it just means
that you’re well-armed and well informed, and you can make sure that you’re providing
that healthy-happy workplace for all of your people.

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