(Pictured: Margo Lydon)
Mental illness claims against super funds and their insurers are on the way up, according to Margo Lydon, putting additional cost pressure on funds, employers and other stakeholders on top of the human and societal costs.
Lydon, the chief executive of SuperFriend, was speaking ahead of the organisation’s second annual symposium on “The Future of Work – Creating a Sustainable Workforce”, taking place at the Sofitel on Collins in Melbourne tomorrow (October 1). The agenda includes:
- International Keynote Speaker Dr David Goldbloom, chair, Mental Health Commission of Canada
- Australian guidelines for workplaces
- Case studies of organisation’s delivering good practice
- Practical strategies for creating a sustainable workforce.
Lydon said that Canada led the world in providing workplace standards for mental and physical wellbeing of employees and Dr Goldbloom would provide invaluable insights for Australian employers.
“If you invest in people’s mental health and overall wellbeing you will increase productivity, reduce absenteeism and also reduce ‘presenteeism’,” she said. “There is a clear business case involved.”
‘Presenteeism, where the employee is at work but not really engaged or very productive, was a serious issue, Lydon said. Takeaways from the symposium would include a lot of things which can be done to improve the work environment which could be fairly simple and inexpensive to implement.
She said that the feedback from insurers, most of whom are also partners in SuperFriend alongside the big funds, was that mental illness claims were on the way up. “They can be very complex and difficult to administer too,” she said. “Studying mental health in the workplace is a relatively new area. We’re looking at initiatives which will have the best impact. If we can keep people in work it’s the best outcome for everyone.”