SOBERING STATS: Speaker Mark Leopold shares some frightening numbers in his session on Taking Action on Suicide and Mental Health.
SOBERING STATS: Speaker Mark Leopold shares some frightening numbers in his session on Taking Action on Suicide and Mental Health. Roxanne Tulk

Why mental health matters

THEY were the most sobering statistics of any introduced during the conference - nearly eight Australians take their own lives every day.

Guest speaker Mark Leopold, of Beyond Blue, said improving understanding and combating stigma around mental health in the workplace was proven to drive positive change

"Understanding what's going on is a key part to potentially helping to save lives,” Mr Leopold said.

"Through the Heads Up website there is a whole range of resources that I'm only touching on to enable you to understand more about what we need to do as individuals but also as organisations; what policies we have in place, what systems, our governance, who to turn to, where to turn to, what should happen if.

"And if they're in place in your organisation that's fantastic, you're a step ahead. If they're not, let's get ahead of the wave, before we have people wondering what to do if the situation arises.”

Co-panellist Victoria Sherwood, GM of Boral's supply chain NSW/ACT, said her company decided to make mental health the focus of its Stop for Safety day as a result of greater public discussion of issues such as depression. The initiative's success led the company to extend mental-health training and support internationally.

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