Skip to main content

Mental Health in the Workplace

Mental health in the workplace

Let’s Talk About Mental Health in the Workplace

In every given year, one in five Australians suffers from one or more forms of mental illness, with half the population likely to experience a mental illness in their lifetime [1]. With a third of our lives spent at work, why is there still a stigma around talking about mental health in the workplace with our colleagues and management? In saying this, slow progress is currently being made in developing awareness and resources in workplaces for those who need mental health assistance.

91% of Australians think mental health is important in the workplace, yet only 52% believe their workplace is a mentally healthy environment. So how do we close the gap?

Talk about it

Talk to your manager, supervisor, colleagues or HR department. While you may not be aware, 81% of workplaces have procedures, policies and resources in place to assist those experiencing a mental health illness. While some managers may only be able to sympathise, many will be able to empathise as they have either experienced mental illness firsthand or with someone they love. Many will be able to work within terms of making your workplace supportive of your current situation.

Seek help

It can be hard to speak about it, especially with your manager. However, it is so important to talk and seek help if you suffer, there are many resources available to help navigate through your feelings and educate yourself with strategies to help. With Medicare, you are entitled to 6 subsidised visits to a psychologist through a referral from your GP. Alternatively, visit Beyond Blue for advice on seeking the best form of help that best suits you.

Utilise your workplace resources.

Workplaces have policies and resources in place to help you find help. An example of this is using an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) this is a confidential counselling service you can access if your workplace offers it.

My experience with EAP

My workplace offers to all employees the opportunity to access an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), this allowed me to confidentially use this service and speak with a trained mental health professional.

Firstly, I extended my interest to the EAP provider about wanting to speak with someone and from there, I spoke with someone about my current situation, stressors and what I wanted to get out of the program.

Following this, they found a suitable professional for my situation. I had 6 fortnightly sessions with a qualified psychotherapist and as my experience was during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had my sessions over Skype, which I enjoyed as I could conduct them on my lunch break in the comfort of my own home.

Finally, I have chosen to be vocal about my experience using EAP and have actively encouraged my colleagues to take advantage of this initiative. As I always say, there is no negative to reaching out and getting support! Click the link to find out more about EAP and how it can help your organisation.

What else can a workplace do?

R U OK?

R U OK have started an initiative called workplace champions to equip managers and organisations with the resources to start the conversation and begin to build a culture that is mentally safe, secure and open to discussion on mental health. Click the link to register your organisation as a workplace champion and get access to these resources.

Mental Health First Aid

While every organisation has a first aid officer, very few have a certified mental health first aid officer. By undertaking a first aid course in mental health, it will help equip you with the skills to identify the signs and symptoms of an employee or colleague suffering from a mental health illness. It will also provide you with the tools to start the conversation and help navigate how and where your colleagues can get professional help. Click here for more information on becoming a mental health first aid officer.

References:

[1] Mental illness. (2021). Healthdirect. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/mental-illness

Author:

Tahlia Mitchell, Research Associate.

Tahlia has been with Ccentric for four years and is a Research Associate at Ccentric Group. Tahlia studied psychology alongside working at Ccentric and is passionate about making a difference by improving mental health in the workplace.

Tahlia Mitchell - Research Associate

Leave a Reply

Loading...