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More than one-third of Australians still want in-person mental-health support

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Corporate / Mental Health / Australia

More than one-third of Australians still want in-person mental-health support

LifeWorks Mental Health Index™ reveals concerns about accessibility and confidentiality as barriers to Australians leveraging employer-funded mental-health services

LifeWorks, a leading provider of digital and in-person total wellbeing solutions, today released its monthly Mental Health Index™, revealing a negative mental-health score among Australians for the 20th consecutive month.

Key findings:

  • Overall mental-health score of -12.2 compared to the pre-pandemic benchmark, a slight decline from the previous month (-11.8 in October).
  • The mental-health score of managers (-11.2) has improved from the previous month (-11.7 in October) while the mental-health score of non-managers (-12.3) has declined (-11.2 in October).

While the acceptance of digital and video mental-health support is high, almost half of working Australians have a preference for in-person mental-health support:

  • Thirty-eight per cent of Australians report in-person support with a counsellor as their preferred modality for mental-health support and another 10 per cent prefer a combination of in-person and digital support.
  • Twenty-eight per cent of Australians have no preference for the modality (digital, video or in-person) of mental-health support.

Comments from senior vice-president and managing director, Australia and Asia-Pacific APAC, Jamie MacLennan

“While digital and video mental-health options have been essential to supporting Australians during the pandemic, our data indicates that employees have different preferences and needs in terms of how to access support. Providing a range of modality methods to ensure employees are able to access the services and resources in a way that best suits their individual needs is key to supporting employee wellbeing effectively in the short and long term. The flexibility provided by a range of modalities is also consistent with the flexibility that many companies are offering staff in the new post-COVID working arrangements.”

Working Australians cite concerns about accessibility and confidentiality as barriers to leveraging employer-funded mental health services:

  • Sixteen per cent of individuals indicate concerns about confidentiality as their reasoning for not leveraging employer-funded mental-health services. This group has a mental-health score of -23.8, more than 11 points below the national average.
  • Ten per cent of Australians indicate that they are not leveraging employer-funded mental health services because they are unclear on how to access support. This group has a mental-health score of -21.0, nearly nine points below the national average.

Comments from global leader and senior vice president, research and total wellbeing, Paula Allen

“While the majority do not see barriers to getting help from employer-funded mental-health services, the ones noted by those who do, shows that there is still work to do in communicating how these services work. Confidentiality is a cornerstone of employee assistance programs (EAP) and there is no cost to the employee nor members of their family. Also, these services are accessible 24 hours a day, each and every day. The course of many lives has been positively changed by EAPs. I hope that anyone in need reaches out and is not dissuaded by false assumptions, nor lack of information.”

The full Australian LifeWorks Mental Health Index™ report can be found here. This month, the report includes additional insights on the impact of the pandemic on personal lives, the correlation between emergency savings and mental health and more.

About the Mental Health Index

The monthly survey by LifeWorks was conducted through an online survey from November 9 and 22, 2021, with 1,000 respondents in Australia. All respondents reside in Australia and were employed within the last six months. The data has been statistically weighted to ensure the regional and gender composition of the sample reflect this population. The Mental Health Index™ is published monthly, beginning April 2020, and compares against benchmark data collected in 2017, 2018, 2019.

About LifeWorks

LifeWorks is a world leader in providing digital and in-person solutions that support the total wellbeing of individuals. We deliver a personalized continuum of care that helps our clients improve the lives of their people and by doing so, improve their business.


Heather MacDonald

Angela Pinzon
Kaiser & Partners

Source: LifeWorks