Illness and disability no barrier to meaningful work

Did you know 20 per cent of Australians between 16 and 85 experience a mental illness in any given year?

That’s 1 in 5 people – and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says there has been a rise in the use of mental health services since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Although our staff are not social workers – The Personnel Group’s job is to find our participants the right job with the right employer – we can help connect participants to support services in our community if needed.

In the 2020-21 financial year participants with a psychiatric illness made up more than 45 per cent of our caseload.

“As the community becomes more accepting of mental health, more people with a mental health condition are looking for work,” The Personnel Group CEO Tracey Fraser says.

“The Personnel Group has changed with the needs of the market but our focus has never changed, that is to help people achieve their career goals.

“We assist people across the entire spectrum of skill levels, people from a diverse range of backgrounds that have had circumstances change their life, mental health doesn’t discriminate, and ended up needing a Disability Employment Service.

“Mental health is still somewhat of a taboo discussion but it needs to be out in the open, one in five Australians will experience a mental health episode in any given year and that impacts their family, their finances and their employment.”

As Albury-Wodonga and North East Victoria experiences a significant COVID-19 outbreak for the first time, we asked headspace Albury Wodonga program manager Karina Kerr about anxiety and stress in our community.

“The added complications of being in a cross border community has definitely added additional stress to young people and their family and friends,” Karina says.

Karina says headspace has experienced more demand for their services in the past year, and she encourages people to seek out support if needed.

“It’s also a good thing to be able to have a chat with someone and talk about what your experience is and talk about strategies,” she says.

“You can access services online about stress management, or managing anxiety, or managing your sleep when you’re under pressure for example.”

Karina says online resources such as and are great tools.

“ is a fantastic hub, it lists a whole bunch of resources about depression and understanding anxiety, as an example if you’re supporting a family member who may have anxiety, you’ll find information there that can help.”

The Personnel Group joined Albury Business Connect to launch the Better Place Project website as a resource for employers and employees seeking information about where to find assistance for mental health in the workplace.

Making mental illness and disability part of the conversation is an important process in finding the right fit for The Personnel Group participants and better equips employers to help support employees.

It is in employers’ interest to have healthy, happy staff because a mentally healthy workforce leads to better creativity, happier workplaces and more prosperous communities.”

If you, or someone you know, is dealing with mental illness support is just a call or a click away.

HeadtoHelp or 1800 595 212


Better Place Project

Lifeline 13 11 14

SuicideLine 1300 651 251

Beyond Blue 1800 512 348

MensLine 1300 789 978

Kids Helpline 1800 551 800

Black Dog Institute

Mental Health Online (formerly Anxiety Online)


Head to Health