Johnson & Johnson joins new corporate mental health alliance

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Health minister Greg Hunt will be joined by some of Australia's largest employers today including Johnson & Johnson to launch the Corporate Mental Health Alliance Australia (CMHAA).

The alliance is a new business-led, expert-guided member organisation focused on improving mental health in the workplace.

The Alliance’s 15 founding members include AIA Australia, Allianz Australia, Bunnings, Clayton Utz, Coles, Commonwealth Bank, Deloitte, DLA Piper, Johnson & Johnson, King & Wood Mallesons, KPMG, Microsoft Australia, MinterEllison, Woolworths Group and PwC Australia.

According to Safe Work Australia, more than 92 per cent of work-related mental health condition claims can be attributed to things like work pressure, harassment or bullying, exposure to workplace violence and sexual or racial harassment.

The issue may have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with increased anxiety and uncertainty, self-isolation, family stress and financial hardship.

Beyond Blue and Lifeline are already experiencing increases of around 30 per cent in demand for their services.

Bruce Goodwin, the managing director of Janssen Australia and New Zealand, the pharmaceutical division of Johnson & Johnson, said he considered it important for the company to be involved the\ initiative.

“We can’t serve those who use our products and services – patients, doctors and nurses, mothers and fathers and all others – without having a workforce that is healthy and well," he said.

"Given our work over many years in mental health research and treatments, we recognise that mental health has its own unique challenges. That’s why we want to work with wider stakeholders to ensure the best possible outcomes in the community. The Alliance is a unique opportunity to make a bigger impact with the support of the other members.”

“It’s a chance for businesses to come together as a united voice to pursue a vision of improving workplace mental health, where everyone feels safe to talk about their mental health without fear of stigma or discrimination. We are committed to ensuring that our people feel like they belong and can bring their whole self to work,” added Mr Goodwin.

The alliance is also inviting expressions of interest for membership beginning in 2021.