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The case for workplace wellbeing and mental health

Recent worldwide estimates are that 20% of the working population have moderate to severe mental health problems [1]. Loss of productivity has been found to be most associated with poor employee mental health, and it is estimated that 80% of lost productivity costs are associated with employees who have depressed mood [2]. In Australia, it is reported that the bulk of the costs associated with depression are borne by the employer, even above and beyond those met by the healthcare system [3]. Given this, mental health has a high cost for both the employee and the organisation. 

Workplaces can equally be a cause of stress and distress and can contribute to poor mental health [4-8]. In fact, it has been hypothesised that “poor quality jobs may be more of a risk to mental health than being unemployed” [4 p.18]. Psychologically distressing work environments have been shown to increase distress in employees, but can also increase distress and risk of suicide in their children [9]. Particular professions are more at risk of suicide and factors related to the organisational climate can either help mitigate or exacerbate these risks.

What makes a good workplace wellbeing strategy?

A good workplace wellbeing strategy is one that is tailored to the individual organisation and considers the organisation's people, structure, industry, and existing resources and supports in place.

A good wellbeing strategy does not solely rely on employee assistance (EAP) services as a mainstay of support, but considers building the resillience of it's people in order to build organisational resillience. It is proactive, not reactive. 


How does CASA approach working with businesses and organisations around workplace wellbeing and mental health?

CASA draws on expertise from the clinical and research world, and our experience working with large organisations to deliver evidence-based, practical solutions.

We will work with you to identify your aims for your wellbeing and mental health strategy and will tailor a solution to your needs. 

Services that we offer include:

  • Review existing workplace wellbeing policy and supports
  • Workshops for staff on common workplace challenges such as wellbeing at work; effective communication; supporting peers; recognising and intervening when people are distressed
  • Workshops for management such as managing distressed employees; effective supervision; building resillience
  • Employee retention research
  • Crisis intervention and debriefs
  • Online training


Would you like to know more?

We are happy to talk to you about you needs and what we can offer. For further information, please contact:

Dr Liesje Donkin

(021) 443 919


1. Hoedeman, R., OECD. Sick on the job? Myths and realities about mental health and work. TBV–Tijdschrift voor Bedrijfs-en Verzekeringsgeneeskunde, 2012. 20(5): p. 234-235.

2. Stewart, W.F., et al., Lost productive work time costs from health conditions in the United States: results from the American Productivity Audit. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine, 2003. 45(12): p. 1234-1246.

3. LaMontagne, A.D., K. Sanderson, and F. Cocker, Estimating the Economic Benefits of Eliminating Job Strain as a Risk Factor for Depression. 2010, Victorian Heath Promotion Foundation (VicHealth): Melbourne.

4. LaMontagne, A.D., et al., Job stress as a preventable upstream determinant of common mental disorders: A review for practitioners and policy-makers. Advances in Mental Health, 2010. 9(1): p. 17-35.

5. Melchior, M., et al., Work stress precipitates depression and anxiety in young, working women and men. Psychological medicine, 2007. 37(8): p. 1119.

6. Loerbroks, A., et al., Associations between work stress and suicidal ideation: Individual-participant data from six cross-sectional studies. J Psychosom Res, 2016. 90: p. 62-69.

7. Baker, M.A., Organizational social climate: Exploring its potential relationship with suicide ideation in at-risk military personnel. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, 2019. 80(3-A(E)): p. No Pagination Specified.

8. Baumert, J., et al., Adverse conditions at the workplace are associated with increased suicide risk. J Psychiatr Res, 2014. 57: p. 90-5.

9. Aleck, O., et al., The impact of fathers' physical and psychosocial work conditions on attempted and completed suicide among their children. BMC Public Health, 2006. 6: p. 77.


CASA is not a crisis service and does not provide an emergency crisis service. For an emergency, please phone 111.

To talk to a trained counsellor please call the National Telehealth Service on 1737 or text 1737 for support.  This service is free and available, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

CASA is a Nationwide Service - Contact us to discuss how we can best meet your needs:

Phone: 0800 448 908

Email: contact@casa.org.nz

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