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Empowermental

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Our employer-targeted Empowermental campaign during October every year supports the belief that a person who has a mental illness can be the best person for the job. Empowermental aims to break down stigma and encourage Australian businesses to consider employing people who have mental illness.

Coinciding with Mental Health Week 2014, Empowermental 2014 aims to reduce the stigma employers associate with employing staff who have a mental illness. People who have a mental illness can and do work – and can be the best person for the job.

If you’re an employer looking for staff, you can register a job vacancy online, or call us on 1800 685 105.

Our research indicates that the majority (63%) of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who hired a person who has a mental illness had a positive or very positive experience. Only 1 in 10 SMEs reported a negative experience hiring a person with a mental illness which is comparable to hiring anyone from any background.

The younger the employer, the more likely they are to employ a person who has a mental illness. 32% of Gen Y and 30% of Gen X employers are likely to hire a person who has a mental illness in the future, compared with 17% of Baby Boomer employers.

One in five Australians will have a mental illness in any 12-month period (National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007), so you may already know, rely on, trust or work with someone who has a mental illness.

Read the Empowermental research results snapshot: 'SME attitudes to employing people who have a mental illness'

We can help you find the right job candidates from a pool of diverse talent, including someone who has a mental illness. Our employment services are free to eligible employers and job seekers. Ongoing employer and job seeker support continues for as long as you need us. We help you access government-funded incentives and support for wages and training costs.

Offical press release: 'Mental illness in the workplace: 'fear factor' does no favours for business'

Download the Empowermental employer brochure 

Download the mental illness employer FAQs

 

For more information about mental illness in the workplace, and ways in which WISE Employment is dedicated to help end stigma, please have a look at:

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Empowermental McNair research results 2014: ‘SME readiness to employ people with a mental illness’

Mental illness in the workplace: 'fear factor' does no favours for business

Debunking fears about mental illness and employment | Empowermental | WISE Employment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research commissioned by WISE Employment, ‘Small and Medium Enterprise Readiness to Employ People with a Mental Illness’, conducted by McNair Ingenuity Research, reported of the 256 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) surveyed that:

• Two in five employers would not consider employing someone who has a mental illness citing unpredictable and changeable behaviour (57%), possibility of a breakdown (54%) and too many sick days (43%) as the biggest barriers.
• Employers prioritised hiring job seekers without any TAFE or tertiary experience (66%), who are learning English as a second language (43%) or who have a physical disability (50%) over hiring someone who has a mental illness (29%), even if they were qualified for the job.
• 50% of employers would prefer to hire someone who has a physical disability. Employers felt it was more possible to “work around physical disability” and that it was not seen to affect motivation or personality, unlike mental illness.
• Of the organisations that had a positive experience in employing people with a mental illness, 78% said they fitted in well with the team (up from 57% in 2013), 67% were hardworking and 53% were good for the company.
• 68% of employers who have employed a person who has a mental illness still do.
• 34% of all managers have a friend or someone close to them with a mental illness and 26% have a member of their family who has a mental illness.
• 26% of employers would consider hiring a person who has a known mental illness.
• 42% of SMEs had never been approached by anyone asking them to consider employing a person with a mental illness.
• 22% had a lack of awareness of the support and resources available to them if they chose to employ a person with a mental illness.

Employing a person who has a mental illness can benefit both the job seeker and employer.  With appropriate treatment and support, people who have a mental illness can be loyal and productive staff members, offer much-needed skills and valuable contributions in the workplace.

Read the Empowermental research results snapshot: 'SME attitudes to employing people who have a mental illness'

 

Read the offical media release: 'Mental illness in the workplace: 'fear factor' does no favours to business'

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Mental illness case studies and partnerships

Success stories
Each year, we assist over 800 job seekers who have a mental illness to find jobs that are suitable to their unique circumstances. Below are a couple of case studies showing the ongoing support WISE Employment provides to employers who employ staff with a mental illness. The case studies highlight the positive workplace contributions of people with a mental illness and the empowering effect employment has on people who have a mental illness.

Employer success stories:

“On time and reliable”: Employer ACC Services sets mental illness stigma in the workplace straight

Award-winning restaurant orders healthy attitude to mental health

Mental illness no barrier to success for family business Ecomist

McDonald’s franchise owners tell of positive experience hiring job seekers who have a mental illness

Read more about the Hume Doors & Timber employer success story. Click to watch the Hume Doors & Timber video on YouTube below.

 

Job seeker success stories:

Finding work brings renewed motivation for job seeker Matthew who has bipolar disorder

A new lease on life for Angela

 

Partnerships
Partnership with mental health service providers and mental health organisations forms part of our dedication to assist people who have a mental illness with finding employment that accommodates their circumstances.

Blacktown Mental Health Service - People with a mental illness in Sydney get new opportunities to work 

 

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Employment support for employers

If you’re an employer and need to find the right staff, including someone who has a mental illness, register a job vacancy online or call WISE Employment on 1800 685 105. Our services are cost free to eligible employers.

To ensure a smooth transition for you and the appointed worker, we can  provide onsite support and training in the first few weeks of placing new staff members, including those who have a mental illness. We offer ongoing support for as long as you and your workers need us. We’re on call especially if unforeseen events occur. Our passionate and skilled staff can visit your workplace to discuss your unique staffing needs.

Register a job vacancy

 

 

We find the right staff for you by:
• Finding the right person for your job vacancy from a pool of diverse talent, who may have a mental illness
• Finding staff for hard-to-fill vacancies
• Assisting you to identifying strategies to stabilise high turnover jobs
• Interviewing and short-listing candidates
• Scoping roles and writing job descriptions
• Assisting with job re-design for existing staff who have a mental illness
• Facilitate a 1 or 2 week work trials to assess a person’s suitability to your workplace
• Providing job creation and job design services to help employers think creatively about the ways in which jobs can be structured and performed by a person who has a mental illness
• Advising on and providing access to workplace modifications in the unlikely event they are required
• Liaising with you and your worker’s support network including their GP, mental health services and/or family
• Providing information specific to workplace relations and other human resource management issues

Employer incentives for employing staff who have a mental illness
We can help employers to access government-funded financial support, such as wages subsidies, for employing someone who has a mental illness for up to six months. We can also provide your new workers with training specific to their jobs through government-funded initiatives.

Mental illness awareness training

We can arrange mental illness awareness training for employers and their co-workers and provide information to employers about what to expect from a new worker who may have a mental illness.

Documents about mental illness

Download the mental illness employer FAQs

Download the Empowermental employer brochure, with more info how WISE Employment can help you find the right staff, and provide ongoing employment support.

Please refer to the ‘2010 Workers with Mental Illness: A practical guide for managers’ for an in-depth look at mental illness in the workplace.

The Fact sheets and documents about mental illness section has more information about mental illness.

Please refer to the Mental illness case studies and partnerships section for examples of successful job placements of job seekers who have a mental illness.

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Job seekers who have a mental illness

Each year, we assist over 900 job seekers who have a mental illness into jobs. We support job seekers who have a mental illness every step of the way to get back to work. For many people who have a mental illness, getting a meaningful job will help with their recovery and means they can become self-sufficient and live fulfilling lives.

Register your interest as a job seeker 

 

 

Our services are cost-free to eligible job seekers. We take your needs and circumstances into consideration so we can help you find the right job to become self-sufficient. We talk to employers on your behalf to help secure the right job for you. We also work with your employer so that the workplace is as accommodating as possible.

Once we have helped you to find work, we stay connected with you for as long as you need us.  We are available face to face or over the phone to support you to ensure you are enjoying your job, and have the right tools and training to meet your job needs. We can even come into the workplace to talk to your employer about additional support to keep you well at work and make sure the workplace is as accommodating as possible for you.

Our services to job seekers, including those who have a mental illness, include:
• Working in partnership with dedicated and skilled WISE staff who are here to help you get a meaningful job
• Help you to overcome any concerns you may have in getting a job
• An individualised approach to your job search including assistance with your resume, job applications, interview preparation and help in looking for suitable jobs
• Guidance and support on the type of job you are seeking
• Assist you to obtain skills, qualifications and experience to reach your vocational goals
• Training in specific job skills
• Promoting you to our network of employers
• Support in whole-of-life issues before and after starting work – we have partnerships with referring doctors, mental illness organisations, local government agencies and other complementary community services
• On–the-job support to help you fit or transition into your job – this can include workplace modifications or specialist equipment and co-worker and employer support
• Translation services are available if you need it
• Ongoing support for as long as you need us

Download the Getting back to work fact sheet.

Have a look at the Personal Helpers and Mentors Program (PHaMs) that supports people whose lives are severely affected by mental health problems.

Please refer to the Fact sheets and documents about mental illness section for more information about mental illness.

Please refer to the Mental illness case studies and partnerships section for examples of successful job placements of job seekers who have a mental illness.

Visit returntowork.net.au, a dedicated website designed to help anyone involved in the process of returning to work after absence due to depression, an anxiety disorder or a related mental health problem.

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What is mental illness?

It is highly likely at least one worker in your workplace will have, at some point in time, a long or short-term mental illness (Australian Human Rights Commission, Workers with Mental Illness: a Practical Guide for Managers – May 2010). Mental illness can significantly affect how a person feels, thinks, behaves and interacts with other people. Mental illness is real and treatable. 

Have a look at mental illness fact sheets.

Prevalent mental illnesses include depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). People who have a mental illness often choose not disclose for fear of prejudice and stigmatisation. Read more about mental illness prevalence.

For over 20 years, we’ve been successful in helping businesses find the right staff. Every year we assist over 900 people who have a known mental illness into jobs that are suitable to their specific circumstances.

Please refer to the Fact sheets and documents about mental illness section for more information about mental illness.

 

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Fact sheets and documents about mental illness

Fact sheets about mental illness

SANE Australia Research Bulletins ask people affected by mental illness to give their views on issues which affect their lives - providing real-world evidence to support advocacy for improved services and attitudes.

What is mental illness?

Facts and figures about mental illness

Mental illness: dispelling the myths (podcast and fact sheet)

Myths about mental illness

Mental health services for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds

Getting back to work

Visit returntowork.net.au, a dedicated website designed to help anyone involved in the process of returning to work after absence due to depression, an anxiety disorder or a related mental health problem.

 

Documents and articles about mental illness

A life without stigma - a SANE Australia report

A Contributing Life: the 2012 National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention - link to full report card as well as the 'work and employment' chapter.

‘2010 Workers with Mental Illness: A practical guide for managers’ - by the Australian Human Rights Commission

Managing mental illness in the workplace - research report by SANE Australia

'Open up jobs for the mentally ill' - The Australian

Download the Empowermental mental illness employer brochure 

Download the mental illness employer FAQs

Four ways to help a discouraged workmate

The Mindful Employer program (by SANE Australia) - an eLearning and face-to-face workplace mental health training program for all and any sized business Australia wide.

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Employer tips to create a mentally healthy workplace

1. Tackle the stigma around mental illness – Understand the different conditions and early signs of the onset of mental illness. Reduce the fear in your organisation by investing in mental health awareness training. Programs and services are available to employers to promote mental health awareness in the workplace.

2. Talk positively in the workplace about mental illness – With one in five Australians affected by mental illness in any given year (1), it is likely you already work with people who have a mental illness. Encourage your organisation to get involved in mental health awareness campaigns, fundraising events and promotions, such as R U OK? Day and Stress Down Day, to create a healthy and inclusive workplace culture.

3. Focus on the practical things to help – As with any employee, monitor workloads, employee involvement, the physical environment and the nature of relationships at work to maintain a mentally healthy workplace. You can also identify services and resources for staff to access.

4. Develop solutions by listening – Most people who have a mental illness already have their own coping strategies. Be approachable and have an open culture so staff can feel comfortable and confident in discussing their situation or seeking help.

5. Support flexibility in the workplace – Adopt healthy and flexible work conditions to encourage work/life balance, such as flexible working hours, so people can work at their best. For some staff, this might mean working from home or in a quiet space in the office occasionally.

6. Lead by example – Be a role model for your staff by managing your own wellbeing – manage stress and take time to talk to people.

7. Respond to employees’ issues – All staff will have different issues and external pressures that may affect performance occasionally. What is important is how managers respond to each individual’s situation. 

8. Develop an action plan – If an employee discloses they have a mental illness, work with them to develop an action plan to identify the triggers, early signs, symptoms and responses to situations. This will help to reduce the onset of the illness and minimise the impact.
 

1. National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007

Link to 'Employer tips for a mentally healthy workplace'

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WISE Stand Up for Mental Health - comedy for change

WISE Stand Up for Mental Health (WSMH) 2014 took place on Thursday 30 October 2014, 7pm at The Sydney Town Hall.

Thank you to everyone who attended and supported comedy for change aiming to help break down mental illness stigma.

Backround about WISE Stand Up for Mental Health

WISE Stand Up for Mental Health (WSMH) is a unique stand-up comedy event featuring award-winning Canadian comedian David Granirer. David, an author and counsellor who has depression, trained, for the second year, a group of Australians with mental illness to develop their own stand-up comedy routine on the highs and lows of living with mental illness. 

The first ever WISE Stand Up for Mental Health took place on Friday 25 October 2013 at Deakin Edge Fed Square in Melbourne. The event was the culmination of the 12-week WISE Stand Up for Mental Health comedy school, run by David Granirer, which empowers people with a mental illness to share their experiences through stand-up comedy and help end the stigma and fear that often surrounds mental illness in Australia.

The event focused on comedy for change. It aimed to provide empowerment to the comedians and a fresh perspective on mental illness that will help fight fear and stigma surrounding mental illness. WSMH is part of WISE Employment’s three-year Empowermental campaign to help reduce the stigma of employing people who have a mental illness.

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Let us know your thoughts

If you could design your ideal employment service what would it look like?

If there is one thing you could change or improve about employment services in Australia, what would it be? 

If there is one message you could give to employers, what would you say?

We welcome your feedback - please let us know your thoughts on any of the above questions, or any related topic, at empowermental@wiseemployment.com.au.

 

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