With so many hours of our day spent working, where we work and who we work with play a vital role in our wellbeing and mental health.
Today (Thursday 19 November) is World Social Enterprise Day, and Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Mr Ivan Frkovic has paid tribute to the valuable role social enterprises play in providing employment, skills and training to many people who might otherwise slip through the gaps in society.
“Social enterprises – businesses designed to benefit the community – are particularly important support for people with lived experience of mental illness and problematic alcohol and other drug use,” he said.
“Providing people with supportive workplaces leads to a sense of purpose, self-worth and belonging, which in turn is beneficial to mental health.
Mr Frkovic said research indicated that the highest rates of mental disorders occurred in families where the sole carer was not in employment.
“This highlights why it is so important to have social enterprises that provide employment, training and mentoring for vulnerable people.”
He said about 30 per cent of young people who were not in employment, training or education had high levels of psychological distress. This compared to 17 per cent of other young people.
Evidence shows that children and adolescents fare better when they grow in households where parents or carers have meaningful work,” Mr Frkovic said.
Social enterprises that employ people from marginalised groups – including those with lived experience of mental ill-health or problematic alcohol or other drug use, the long-term unemployed, and people from the refugee and asylum-seeker community – are a vital part of ensuring people can be employed and feel valued.
“Providing work, training and mentoring in social enterprises can lead to employment in other areas.
“The flow-on effect of helping people become connected and contributing members of society is enormous, both for individuals and for society as a whole,” Mr Frkovic said.
The Queensland Social Enterprise Strategy can be found here: https://desbt.qld.gov.au/small-business/strategic-documents/social-enterprise-strategy.