Monday, November 19, 2012

Intentional Self-Harm is major killer

The release of the ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) report ‘Causes of Death’ has revealed the statistics for Australia’s leading causes of death, which has significant implications for organisations and those who are employed to manage human capital risk.
Intentional self-harm (suicide) registered as the 15th biggest killer of Australians in 2010, according to the latest report. As mental illness has been identified as a precursor to both self-harm and suicide it is pertinent to look at the issues from a risk perspective. Mental illness has a significant impact on the workplace that often goes unrecognised, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI, 2010).

This research tells us that mental health issues are being under reported and undetected, and that the true cost of mental health issues ‘snowballs’ when indirect costs and other factors are considered or combined with existing cases.

For most workplaces, mental health issues tend to present themselves through absenteeism and loss of productivity. Managers need to be aware of the warning signs, such as conflict in the workplace and home, increasing absenteeism, deteriorating performance and reported issues through wellness programs. Once identified, action needs to be taken to prevent

(a)           further deterioration in the health of their workforce

(b)                     loss of productivity and

(c)           exposure through insurance liability.

In addition to helping identify risk markers within an organisation, the introduction of targeted Health and Wellness programs can help build resilience in the workforce and reduce the likelihood of mental health issues escalating and becoming harmful to the individual and workforce as a whole. Examples of the types of programs used in the wellness space to prevent the onset of mental health issues include training in resilience and coping, dealing with difficult people, personality in the workplace and work/life balance coaching.
For anyone concerned about their own, or a colleagues mental health, please visit or call their information hotline on 1300 22 4636.

To read the full White Paper by Mark Cassidy, GM of Risk and Innovation at 2CRisk with over 15 years of experience working in the area of health risk management, please click here.
If you would like to find out more about how 2CRisk can help you tackle the challenges of health management, go to or you can contact Mark on +61 1300 736 361 or e-mail

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