Media releases

Beyond Blue is “Working” to present depression messages to theatre audiences.

12 Jul 2010

Beyond Blue has teamed up with Melbourne theatre production company 3Big Men, to make people aware that when you have depression or anxiety, you can’t leave it at home, it goes to work with you every day.

“Working - A Musical” - is based on the book - Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do - by American author and radio broadcaster Studs Terkel.

This production of “Working” not only gives an insight into how people feel about their work, but it incorporates Beyond Blue's messages about how to identify and respond to mental health problems in the workplace and assist people to get the help they need.

Deputy CEO of Beyond Blue and pioneer of Beyond Blue's Workplace Program, Dr Nicole Highet says this is an exciting example of how Beyond Blue can work with the arts to raise awareness and reduce stigma associated with conditions like depression and anxiety.

“The importance of educating employers and employees about depression and anxiety in the workplace was emphasised in the recent Beyond Blue Depression Monitor survey which indicated that 94 per cent of people believe information about depression should be available in the workplace, and 78 per cent of people believe people with depression feel embarrassed to access information.

“People don’t know how to identify or respond to issues like depression and anxiety in a workplace setting. For example, over 50 per cent of people believe that people with depression should take time off work – which potentially isolates the person, doesn’t ensure they are getting the treatment they need, and may lead to long-term absenteeism,” she says.

Over six million working days are lost each year in Australia as a result of depression. “Working” emphasises that depression affects people across all industries and all walks of life.

“By teaming up with 3Big Men productions, we can get the message to theatre goers, that depression and anxiety are common, but manageable - and with the right treatment, most people recover,” continues Nicole. “The musical also highlights the critical role that people in the workplace can play in identifying, assisting and supporting people at work to get the help they need so they can continue to contribute.”

Beyond Blue's National Workplace Program is an awareness, early intervention and prevention program which aims to increase the knowledge and skills of staff and managers to recognise depression and anxiety in their colleagues and assist them to get appropriate help.

  • More than three million people in Australia experience depression, anxiety or related alcohol and drug problems each year1.
  • Depression costs the Australian community over $600 million each year.
  • On average, every full-time employee with untreated depression costs an organisation $9,665 per year2.
  • Untreated depression can result in a significant reduction in work performance and accounts for 12 million days of reduced productivity each year – with serious implications for work safety.

Media professionals wanting further information, a comment or an interview should contact the media team.

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