World Mental Health Day - Can you see the signs in your Workplace?


World Mental Health Day is today, Tuesday 10th October 2017, and it is the perfect opportunity for your organisation to improve its understanding of mental health problems and what to do about them.


The impact of mental health in the workplace affects individuals and also the organisation. The productivity levels are effective and with staff absenteeism it affects the other staff.


A study of 12,000 Australian employees found that one fifth of full time workers were receiving treatment for mental health problems. Other workers would utilise extended and significant periods of sick leave.


With mental illness it is never certain that workers will see improvement with time off from work, sometimes absenteeism may prove detrimental to their wellbeing.


To encourage workers to seek treatment is a positive step that your organisation can take and it also meets your WHS obligations to ensure the health and wellbeing of your employees.


Two key ways you can reduce the impact of mental health problems in your workplace area:-


  • Take steps that are positive to remove any stigma and fear of workplace discrimination that your employees may have if they have mental health problems. When these fears are removed it may encourage your employees to seek treatment for their condition.
  • Putting in mechanisms that allow for effective early intervention, like an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can assist employees showing signs of mental illness to seek assistance.


Training your managers / supervisors to assist them in being able to detect the early signs and symptoms of a developing mental problem is a positive move, as this will give the manager / supervisor the ability to offer early support and assistance while the employee seeks professional assistance.


A key benefit of trained workers is that they can play a major role in educating the rest of the organisation on mental health issues.


A couple of points to manage mental health issues in the work place:-


  • Train your managers / supervisors and other staff to understand early signs of anxiety and depression.
  • Have you got an Employer Assistance Program, if not source one.
  • Do you offer flexible work practices?
  • Is your organisation a workplace that supports and respects those with mental illness and combats workplace bullying?


Keeping the Workplace Safe


It is important that your organisation does not expose workers to the risk of mental health problems.


Manage the issues and put in some control mechanisms to manage the following:-


  • Unclear work roles
  • Long working hours
  • Bullying
  • Poor communication
  • High levels of pressure


These can add to metal health issues.


Once these control mechanism are in place to assist all your staff, it should create a safe and happy workplace.

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