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1 in 3 Australian workers took mental health days in 2017

New research has found that 3.74 million Australian workers have used at least one day of their sick leave for mental health or stress in the past 12 months.

The survey of 2,010 Australian adults, found that one-third (31 per cent) of workers have taken a mental health day in the last year.

The research found that full-time workers were more likely to have taken leave for mental health, compared to part-time workers (36 per cent compared to 32 per cent). insurance expert Bessie Hassan said it's important for employers to use these findings as an opportunity to provide support for their team members.

"Employers and business owners are in a unique position where they're able to encourage and assist employees with their mental health, especially as work can be overwhelming at times.

"It's worth considering incentives such as flexible working arrangements, subsidised counselling, or even encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle to help reduce stress.

"Furthermore, happy and healthy employees can boost productivity in the workplace, so introducing such initiatives can lead to a real win-win."

The findings revealed that female workers (32 per cent) were slightly more likely than men (29 per cent) to take a mental health day.

Tasmanian workers are the least likely to use their sick leave for stress, with less than one in five (18 per cent) taking time off. Western Australians are the most likely to use their leave (34 per cent). 

Ms Hassan said that employees may have access to remedial treatments through their personal or corporate health insurance policy.

"Some stress-relief treatments such as remedial massage, yoga classes or counselling sessions may be covered by a health insurance policy with extras cover. While, admitted psychiatric treatment is often covered by hospital policies that cover mental health."

"The key message here is if you're feeling overwhelmed or need some time out from the workplace, check in with your employer, and read up on your health insurance policy."

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain