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Mental Health

People living and working with mental illness should expect much more, says the World Federation for Mental Health.

This week is World Mental Health Week and the theme for the year’s awareness raising is “Dignity in Mental Health”.

According to Australia’s Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance, one in six working age Australians are living with mental illness, costing Australian businesses $11 billion a year. In addition, many in the workforce are juggling work while caring for someone with a mental illness.

The Alliance provides an evidenced-based strategy for creating a mentally healthy workplace. It covers changing the design of work, such as introducing flexible work hours; building better cultures, such as training managers in creating mentally health workplaces; supporting recovery; and increasing awareness.

Globally, the report, Dignity in Mental Health from the World Federation for Mental Health, says: “We can create a world where everyone affected by mental health conditions has the best chance possible to succeed and recover free from fear and isolation.”

The report also notes that the global community is a “long way [from] our Destination Dignity”, but is on the road.

If you need immediate assistance, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression, contact beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.

For more details on the story, visit World Federation for Mental Health and the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance

Published on 8 October 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today.

Smarter work design, better work cultures and building individual resilience are the top three ways to create a mentally healthy workplace.

According to the report, ‘Developing a Mentally Healthy Workplace: A review of the literature’, smarter work design means improving flexibility of working hours, encouraging a better work culture through a safe and positive work climate, and building individual resilience by providing coaching and mentoring, among other activities.

The report says three other key workplace mental health initiatives include promoting and facilitating early help-seeking, supporting recovery, and increasing awareness of workplace mental health issues.

Importantly, the report notes that to establish and maintain a mentally healthy workplace, there must be commitment, leadership and support from management, a situational analysis to determine what works, identification and implementation of a workplace mental health strategy, and a review of the outcomes.

Earlier this week, the Chair of the National Mental Health Commission, Professor Allan Fels, commented on the release of the report.

“The opportunity cost of not promoting good mental health at work, and not supporting people who have mental illness or care for others who do is … very, very high,” he said in a media statement.

“Nonetheless, almost all of us have witnessed people and practices in the workplace that ignore the needs of individuals or sometimes the whole team, and the resulting impacts such as staff turnover, absenteeism, low productivity and poor morale.”

For more details visit the report and Professor Fels

Published on 4 December 2014 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin

Many bosses think they are doing enough to create mentally healthy workplaces, but employees beg to differ, according to new research.

The findings are part of a TNS and beyondblue mental health report released this week, State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia.

While 71 per cent of leaders say they are committed to promoting the mental health of staff, only 37 per cent of staff agree.

A similar gulf exists for implementing processes and policies to support those who disclose a mental health condition. Seventy per cent of leaders say such processes and policies are in place, but only 44 per cent of staff agree.

In addition, only 52 per cent of employees believe their workplace is mentally healthy, compared to 76 per cent who believe their workplace is physically safe.

The report also notes that only 56 per cent of employees believe their most senior leader values mental health.

For more details, visit the report.

Published on 19 June 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

If the federal Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb was 40 again he wouldn’t tell too many people he lived with a mental illness, because he couldn’t take the risk.

Robb was sharing his own experiences with depression at a gathering of workplace mental health stakeholders to launch a new Black Dog Institute workplace initiative last Friday.

He described how he had lived with mental illness for most of his life.

He said stigma was still an issue for the community to deal with, noting there were a lot of put-downs when people got half the chance.

Also, when his illness was diagnosed and he was trialling medications, he found he couldn’t handle the side effects and do his job at the same time, and some people assumed he would retire.

But now that the medication issues have been resolved, Robb says he has never felt better.

He said his boss, the Prime Minster Tony Abbott, treated him like everybody else and delegated work, but pulled him up when he had made mistakes.

Dr Samuel Harvey, Senior Lecturer in Workplace Mental Health at the University of New South Wales and Research Fellow at the Black Dog Institute, also speaking at the launch, said preventative not just reactive mental health measures were necessary at all workplaces.

Harvey said there were no simple answers, and evidence-based solutions that addressed mental health problems at organisation, team and individual levels were necessary.

Importantly, good leadership was key to the success of any mental health initiative, he said.

For more details visit the Black Dog Institute.

Published on 5 June 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Young workers in particular are no longer prepared to keep fronting up to workplaces that don’t look after mental health.

Forty-five per cent of workers left their jobs because their workplaces had poor mental health environments, says a new survey from Instinct and Reason.

A random sample of 1025 employees aged from 20 years to over 50 years was selected from a cross-section of industry to participate in the survey.

Significant proportions of all age groups said they left their jobs because of their workplaces’ poor mental health support, but it was a greater motivator for younger workers to leave. Fifty-three per cent of workers aged less than 30 years left, compared to 26 per cent of workers aged over 60 years.

“This means that while a mentally healthy workplace is important in attracting and retaining staff today, it will be even more important in the future as younger workers move through the workforce,” the survey says.

For more detail, visit the survey.

Published on 5 June 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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