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The business benefits of good mental wellbeing

The business benefits from increasing a workforce’s mental wellbeing are significant.

Businesses that invest in building and maintaining good mental wellbeing report higher productivity and sales, more creativity and customer satisfaction.

Importantly, the business becomes known as a good place to work making it easier to recruit and retain the best workers.

The business case

When thinking about the business case for mental wellbeing, keep these thoughts in mind:

  • Mental wellbeing is one of the most valuable business assets – Like any asset it can be developed, maintained or neglected.
  • Business puts a premium on mental performance – Today’s economy depends in large part on employees’ effective mental and behavioural performance and productivity.
  • Minds do the heavy lifting – In many workplaces, it's our minds and not our bodies that do a business’ heavy lifting. A healthy mind creates solutions better, as it’s more creative and innovative, giving a competitive edge.
  • Both thinking and feeling are involved – Products and services are made by people who need to think, focus, meet deadlines, cooperate, communicate, be empathetic, trustful and be resilient.
  • Mental wellbeing affects turnover – Unhappy, dissatisfied or disengaged employees are more likely to take time off, turn up but not be able to work, leave a workplace, and/or suffer injuries. These have massive cost implications (MSW Research, Carnegie Study, 2012).
  • Depression is as important as heart disease – Businesses recognise the obvious risks and effects of cardiovascular disease far more than the less obvious symptoms and impacts of depression. But these two conditions are the main reasons for lost work time through employee disability and early death (NIMH).
  • Managing health and safety risks associated with stress is a legal requirement - See the Employers' legal responsibilities section. 


A lot of research is going into the return on investment in workplace wellbeing. Here are just a few examples. 

The Well-being at Work Report - a review of the literature: The New Economics Foundation.

Psychosocial Safety Climate and Better Productivity in Australian Workplaces: Costs, Productivity, Presenteeism, Absenteeism: Safe Work Australia, 2016.

Creating a mentally healthy workplace: Return on investment analysis: The Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance, 2014. 

Also, DiversityWorks (formerly the Equal Opportunities Trust) has success stories about the benefits of creating a diverse workforce, which includes people with experience of mental illness. 

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