Working life and mental illness: SANE Australia asks, what’s your experience?

Working life and mental illness: SANE Australia asks, what’s your experience?

With about 45 per cent of Australians experiencing a mental illness in their lifetime, there is little  doubt that we all will be affected – directly or indirectly – by a mental health problem, while at work.  

SANE Australia, the national mental health charity, wants to hear about the experiences of people with mental illness, and carers, who are in work.

‘For people living with a mental illness, finding and keeping a job can be a major challenge. It can also be an issue for family members and other carers who need workplace flexibility and support from time to time,’ explains Barbara Hocking, Executive Director of SANE Australia.

SANE Australia is currently conducting an on-line research survey on working life and mental illness.

‘We want to know the challenges people face, the type of support that has helped, and the type of support that would help to keep them employed,’ says Ms Hocking.

Previous research by SANE has identified that a lack of suitable part-time and flexible work for people with a mental illness was the primary barrier to getting back to work.

The most important factor identified in successful employment was a supportive employer, especially in relation to flexible working arrangements.

‘This support needs to be fostered and encouraged by educating employers, managers and work colleagues about mental illness.

‘By completing this short survey and helping us better understand this issue, we can campaign for improved workplace education and develop training and support services,’ says Ms Hocking.

The short questionnaire can be accessed by clicking on or by contacting the SANE Helpline on 1800 18 SANE (7263). All respondents remain anonymous.

For more information on SANE’s previous Research Bulletins and other initiatives, visit 

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SANE Australia offers a wide range of resources to assist people diagnosed with mental illness and their families. 

Call the SANE Helpline on 1800 18 SANE (7263) or visit for more information.