National mental health advocate beyondblue and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) have signed a new partnership aimed at making the country’s workplaces more mental health friendly.

beyondblue’s CEO, Kate Carnell, said that the signing of the Letter of Collaboration with ACCI formed an important step in seeing key mental health initiative reach small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“By working with the ACCI, beyondblue will be able to raise awareness, exchange information and support good mental health practices in the workplace and among business owners,” she said.

ACCI’s Chief, Peter Anderson, said that the initiative was important in removing the stigma of mental health questions in the workplace.

“Around one million Australian adults live with depression and more than two million have an anxiety disorder. Depression will be experienced by 15 per cent of Australians during their lifetime – one in five women and one in eight men. Anxiety is even more common, as 26 per cent of Australians (one in four) is likely to experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime – one in three women and one in five men,” Mr Anderson said.

“This is why partnerships with business organisations are so important, as mental health issues affect everyone. If you don’t experience depression or anxiety yourself, it’s likely a family member or close friend will experience one of these conditions during their lives.