Business leaders must keep mental health awareness top of the agenda

Published in Newcastle Herald 26th May 2021

Sally Kirkright, AccessEAP CEO

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Men’s Health- Reducing Stigma in the Workplace

1 in 8 men will suffer from a mental health issue in a lifetime.

Talking about mental health issues creates understanding and acceptance.

"Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all." - Bill Clinton

Misunderstandings about mental health can lead to prejudice, discrimination and stigma. While there have been changes recently in the media reporting on mental health concerns, stereotypes are often perpetuated in sport, films, media and social networking especially by images portraying unrealistic images of men as strong, self-sufficient and “practical providers”. In reality these are unhelpful and often untrue and, there is even more scope for the role of media and social media in debunking myths and raising awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. The most effective way to break down prejudice and stereotyping of mental health issues is through; education, awareness and listening to people’s personal stories.

Men who suffer with Mental Health issues feel societal stigma is often more disabling than the illness itself. Coping with a mental health issue often includes increased use of drugs and alcohol, risk taking behaviour and social isolation. Over time these activities negatively influence self-esteem and confidence and in extreme circumstances can lead to suicide. Men are afraid of the impact on their relationships and career if they open up and talk about or show their feelings. Often feelings like anger or aggression can mask underlying depression.

Research by the Mental Health Council of Australia (2013) found that discussing a mental health issue is still taboo in the workplace. Research conducted states that 69% of people are uncomfortable to disclose a mental illness to their employer, while 35% would never disclose. The study reported that 48% of respondents had taken time off work for a mental health issue and not disclosed the reason to their employer. These are alarming statistics and reflect the need for action to eliminate the stigma and fear of disclosing a mental health issue in the workplace.

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Personal and Professional Growth

We would like to start by recognising the COVID situation in India and how that impacts family and friends in Australia. We would like to remind you that AccessEAP can be accessed in challenging times to help you with wellbeing and coping strategies.

Wellbeing has many facets. At AccessEAP we’ve created a Wellbeing Model based on our years of experience supporting mental health and wellbeing. A key element of our Wellbeing Model is what we call Professional and Personal Growth. This is all about your learning and development. We know that learning can take many different forms, such as training, coaching, mentoring, reading, watching educational videos, on the job learning, and much more. Skills, personal confidence, motivation and self-awareness all impact on our capacity to perform well in work. Positive mental health is a critical component of how we develop ourselves and our relationships with others. Personal and Professional Growth is about evolving and is the continuous process of growing yourself to realistically achieve your greatest ability. It is vital to your mental health, success, and happiness.

We're turning our spotlight to the important theme of professional and personal growth. We've created tools outlining our new Learning in Focus approach highlighting the mental health and wellbeing topics available to you. As well as a personal tool focusing on the value of lifelong learning and prioritising your personal and professional development. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website.  

If you would like to explore this area further, our Organisational Development Team can help. Reach out to us here at AccessEAP on 1800 818 728. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

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Learning in Focus - 2021 New Topics

 

Wellbeing has many facets. A key element of our Wellbeing Model is Professional and Personal Growth. It is all about your learning and development, which can include training, coaching, mentoring, reading, watching educational videos, on the job learning, and much more. Skills, personal confidence, motivation and self-awareness all impact on our capacity to perform well in work. Positive mental health is a critical component of how we develop ourselves and our relationships with others. Personal and Professional Growth is about evolving and is the continuous process of growing yourself to realistically achieve your greatest ability. It is vital to your mental health, success, and happiness.

All topics can be delivered in a variety of ways and we can be flexible to your needs. This can include face to face delivery or virtual using a platform such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. We can deliver sessions as training modules, Q&A sessions, or pre-recorded webinars. 
 
 

New Topics for 2021 - Available Now

Click below to find out more about each topic.

Positive Psychology: Learn How to Flourish

Positive Psychology: Learn How to Flourish: For people who want to learn more about the power of positive psychology, this is the module for you. Positive psychology is all about discovering your strengths and utilising those strengths to thrive and perform to the best of our ability. This positive approach will change the way you think about your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of the people around you.

Effective Workplace Communications

Effective Workplace Communications: Powerful communication is the cornerstone of a high performing team. When communication is flowing efficiently and effectively, people feel more engaged, they have better relationships with others, and they build trust in their colleagues and leaders. This module will help your people uncover their communication styles and work effectively with people around them.

Applying Emotional Intelligence at Work

Applying Emotional Intelligence at Work: Have you ever wanted to learn more about emotional intelligence? Our new module helps people uncover the power of emotions and how to harness their emotional intelligence to maximise their impact at work. This module focuses on the 5 components of Daniel Goleman’s EI model. You can also speak to our Organisational Development Team so we can partner with you to create an Emotional Intelligence Program including an EI psychometric tool and learning and coaching.

 

Manage Change

Manage Change: Adopt a Growth Mindset: Growth Mindset is all about transforming your mindset from a focus on ‘I can’t do that’ to ‘I can do that’. Believing in your own potential is a key success component for organisational change, personal growth and implementing new ways of doing things. If you are struggling with any of these issues, talk to us today about how we can help shift thinking to be more self-motivating and embrace change.

Organisational Change

Organisational Change: A Strengths-Based Journey to Transformation: Our new change management module uses the Appreciative Inquiry framework to help people navigate change and create successful change programs for others. This module is especially designed for people leaders, project managers and other project stakeholders. Upon completion of this module, learners will have a better understanding of how to focus on navigating change rather than simply managing change, and how to get the most from others during times of change.

Coaching Skills in the Workplace

Coaching Skills in the Workplace: Coaching is a critical leadership capability and one of the most common behaviours that leaders want to develop. Our new coaching module is designed to help you learn more about coaching, when to use it, and how to get the most from the people around you. We can help you develop your coaching skills and enhance leadership capability across your organisation.

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Customer Administration - Sydney Based

  • Help make a difference every day
  • Strong team environment
  • CBD location

AccessEAP is an Australian owned not for profit Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provider. Our emphasis is on partnering with organisations to enhance employee well-being and improve workplace productivity.  We focus on understanding the unique needs of our customers and tailoring our services to support and prevent mental health issues in the workplace. Due to continued growth, we have an outstanding opportunity for a passionate and adaptable person to work with us on our ambitious journey.

Your role will be to ensure effective administrative support related to the successful operations of AccessEAP. You will work closely with the Relationship Management, Sales Management, Clinical and Finance teams to support the delivery of services to customers.

Your track record of success key will reflect your strong planning, organising and interpersonal skills, and high attention to detail. Most importantly you will enjoy working in a team environment that is driven by integrity, collaboration and accomplishment.

AccessEAP takes the health of employees seriously and you will be working in an environment that genuinely cares about the well-being of all employees.

To apply send your resume to dwilliams@kurtispaige.com.au or call David Williams on 0414 551 795 for more information.

Client Services Consultants - Sydney & Hobart Based

  • Help make a difference every day
  • Strong team environment
  • Full-Time opportunities

At AccessEAP our mission is to create thriving workplaces. We partner with each customer to promote, positive organisational behaviour, enhance employee wellbeing, improve workplace productivity and effectively manage the mental health of every employee. As an Australian owned not for profit Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provider, our emphasis is on understanding the unique needs of our customers and tailoring our services to support and prevent mental health issues in the workplace. Due to continued growth and an expanding service offering We have a number of opportunities for motivated, adaptable and empathic people to help achieve our goals and continue our ambitious journey.

Your role will be to provide the first point of contact for all our clients and contribute to optimising our business reputation by ensuring the effective delivery of client services. Your key responsibilities will be client intake registration and processing, referrals to counsellors, record management, data entry and coordinating on-site.

Your key skills will include your attention to detail and outstanding interpersonal skills. Most importantly you will enjoy working in a team environment that is driven by respect, collaboration and accomplishment. AccessEAP take the health of employees seriously and you will be working in an environment that genuinely cares about the wellbeing of all employees.

For more information contact David Williams on 0414551795 or send your resume to dwilliams@kurtispaige.com.au.

Joint Effort

The pandemic has forced us to look more closely at the way we work particularly in terms of team and people interactions and dynamics. The way that our teams function is crucial to our workplace culture and productivity. Whether your team dynamics have changed drastically or not so much, see our tips for an effective teamwork refresher below: 

1. Review Objectives and Goals

Successful teams have clear objectives that all team members are aware of and working toward. There is a clear vision and shared values. Team members are committed to the goal and live the values.

2. Participation

Active participation is evident and encouraged by all team members. Team members focus on their areas of strength for the greater good of achieving the team outcomes. Effective teams want the team to succeed and place team success above individual recognition and reward. Everyone carries their weight.

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Grow your Emotional Intelligence - a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

Emotions, especially positive ones, can motivate us to create opportunities and find ways through difficulties. And emotions can be messy. They can get in the way of thinking clearly and they can pull us in opposing directions. Whether we are feeling on top of the world or quite down, it’s very helpful if we can bring awareness to what is happening for us emotionally so we can make wise choices on how to act.

This is where Emotional Intelligence comes in. Often abbreviated to EQ, it’s the ability to identify, understand, and handle emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, build wellbeing, communicate effectively, overcome challenges, and build healthy relationships. The term Emotional Intelligence first appeared way back in 1964 when it hit popularity with the writings of Daniel Goleman in 1995, and it has been in popular use ever since.

Emotions underlie everything we do, and they change the way we think. The ‘broaden-and-build’ theory of emotions, developed by Barbara Frederickson, says that positive emotions, such as happiness and joy, broaden our awareness, encourage curiosity, and build more creative and varied ways of thinking and acting.

As a leader, I am very aware of how important it is for me to be aware of my emotional state, especially when I am making important decisions or responding to situations. I want to approach decision making and situations with a healthy sense of self-confidence and optimism. I know I make better decisions when I feel like this. Responding form feelings of fear or anger are much more likely to lead to unforeseen and unwanted outcomes.

There are 5 main characteristics of EQ: self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, motivation and social skills. It’s not just about our own emotions. EQ is also about getting better at noticing and identifying others’ emotions so we can relate more easily with other people, and build relationships based on trust and care.

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Lead with Emotional Intelligence

The words emotional intelligence can cause a little nervousness in some people, while others can’t wait to delve into the topic and let you know how high their EQ is. But what does it mean? It means we actively try to improve our people skills. We work hard on being better communicators. We try to be better listeners. We always seek feedback from people on how we are going and ask the question, what more can I do to help you be successful?.  Even if we are ‘born’ emotionally sensitive or attuned, we will still find ourselves on the journey to becoming a more emotionally intelligent leader. We may improve with age and experience, but we can definitely train ourselves to become more emotionally intelligent sooner. Why would we? Well, major studies have found a strong link between high emotional intelligence and success in leadership, relationships, resilience, and life in general!

We're turning our spotlight to emotional intelligence (EQ) and why it is a very relevant topic in our Wellbeing in Focus Calendar’s CHANGE quarterly theme. We've created tools that look at what EQ is, why it’s important and how we can improve our EQ, from the individual and leader perspective, respectively. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website. 

Emotional intelligence can be measured but feedback and cues from those you interact with will generally let you know how well you are progressing. If you would like to explore this area further and use emotional intelligence in leadership development and team dynamics, our Organisational Development Team can help. Reach out to here at AccessEAP on 1800 818 728. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

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Equipping your people

The events of the past year have had some unexpected outcomes. On a personal level, many of us have realised that we can do things that we hadn’t previously thought possible or that we “had it in us” to do. Similarly, for many organisations, the ability to move quickly and implement change when restrictions were in place was downright amazing. This realisation that we can rise to the challenge can be very empowering. As leaders, we know that some people in our team like to play it safe and are reticent when it comes to trying new things, but when given the right opportunity, they will exceed expectations. It can take time and effort to find the right development path to ensure they can contribute to the best of their abilities.

So how can we ensure that we give our people the opportunities to be their best at life and work? We're turning our spotlight on self-awareness and equipping your people with the information they need to make better recruitment and development decisions.

We've created a  Leader Tool that provides ways to harness information and apply reliability and validity to the development process to ensure you are setting your people and business up for success.  As well as a Personal Tool that focuses on self-awareness and making time to take stock of where you are after an unusual year. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website. Reach out to here at AccessEAP on 1800 818 728. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

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Focus on Self-Care and Connection

We've reached a milestone together. We are now 12 months into a global pandemic. It's no wonder that we have found ourselves talking about challenging times. When we pause and reflect on the pandemic's duration and ongoing nature, its influence on our work and personal lives will take years to continue to unfurl.

I'm sure everyone is looking forward to the Easter break and possibly school holidays. We recognise those affected by the recent floods, and this week we are aware that Queenslanders are faced with a new lockdown. As humans, we are more adaptable than we give ourselves credit for.  Whether you have been impacted directly or indirectly or feel the weight of media coverage of traumatic events, the break may be a good time to look after yourself and connect with family, friends and loved ones.

We're turning our spotlight to self-care and connection. Your personal tools are part of the 2021 Wellbeing in Focus Calendar, and now is a perfect time to highlight taking a good look at ways to practice self-care, connect and notice how you are travelling. Find the Wellbeing Calendar Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website as well as the AccessMyEAP App. Reach out to here at AccessEAP on 1800 818 728. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

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Identifying your Stress Signatures - a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP

As we turn towards the second quarter of the year, it's a good time to reflect on how we are travelling and what we want to create as the year continues. With recurring lockdowns and travel restrictions, many of us did not have the break we were hoping for at the end of last year – and without that break, batteries could be a bit low and edges a bit frayed. And now we are facing floods and the loss which accompanies the damage. So if your energy levels are low, you're feeling overwhelmed or a bit "blah", it is not surprising. To support those that may have been affected by the recent events or if you have been directly impacted, please see our article, Support through the NSW & QLD Floods, which includes individual support strategies as well as information for managers and leaders.

Stress can show itself in many forms. As a leader, I am on the lookout for signs of stress and low energy in the people I lead – and in myself. Stress might take the form of headaches and tension; it might be losing your confidence or being irritable; it might be having difficulty concentrating or making decisions. Or stress might cause you to reach for that extra drink, that extra piece of cake, or you might lose your appetite altogether. These are all signatures of the effect of stress to be aware of. 

Resilience is a word that is used a lot when it comes to discussing how to respond to stress. The trick is to make the word meaningful for yourself and for those in your organisation, and not just an expression that is equivalent to 'move on and get over it'. The word resilience has been around since the mid-1600s. It's from the Latin meaning 'to spring back.' And that meaning is part of the problem. Sometimes springing back to the way we were is absolutely not what is needed. If I notice my golf-swing is not producing the results I want on a particular course, it may need to adapt to the unfamiliar conditions rather than persist with what I usually do. I like the definition of resilience given by CSIRO Research Fellow Brian Walker – "Resilience is… the ability to adapt and change, to reorganise, while coping with disturbance. It is all about changing in order not to be changed." Resilience is about:

  • having available to you a diversity of styles of responding
  • being self-aware and open to challenges
  • not being over connected with others and your environment (you might get overwhelmed), or under-connected (in which case you may not learn and you might miss the bigger picture)
  • being able to respond quickly
  • being ready to transform if necessary.

This is a much more nuanced version of resilience than the one we are often told about.

So, how might we all put this version of resilience into practice? I believe it starts with being curious. Curiosity lies at the heart of the joy and excitement of discovery, of finding new ways of doing things, of finding our unique approach to the world that uses our strengths and insights. Curiosity also means we aren't afraid to make mistakes. It's said that when a reporter asked him, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps." A growth mindset is vital.

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Reinvest in Resilience

Being resilient is the ability to bounce back after challenges. During this unprecedented time, we all find ourselves in, building resilience and trying to manage our stress levels can seem even more difficult than usual. As a manager or leader, you will be experiencing your own emotions as well as feeling responsible for your people or teams. As leaders, we are used to being in control and providing guidance and support to others, but we are also human.

Remember that feeling anxious, fearful, stressed, angry and irritable are common and normal feelings during uncertain times. Identify your responses and feelings and ensure that you look after yourself and get support if needed. It is difficult to support others when we are experiencing heightened stress. If you notice behavioural changes like being snappy in a conversation that you would not normally worry about, or being abrupt towards someone you care for, take a moment to use the STOP technique.

  • STOP whatever you are doing
  • TAKE a few slow breaths
  • OBSERVE what you are thinking and feeling –remembering that thoughts and worries are not facts
  • Feeling calmer? Go on with the task. Still tense? Get up and move, make a cup of tea, walk the dog, do the dishes. A five-minute break is really restorative!

Click below to refesh on our top ten tips for Resilience.

Stress & Resilience Training

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Showing Stress

Stress is a natural state which allows our minds and bodies to prepare for the unexpected. Some stress is good: It helps us prepare for a big task and protects against imminent threats. However, a constant state of stress is exhausting and bad for our physical and emotional health.

We show stress in four ways:

Physically: feeling the rush of adrenaline, headaches, muscle tension.

Emotionally: becoming snappy or teary with little provocation; losing our confidence and vitality.

Cognitively: black and white thinking; catastrophising and dwelling on unhealthy thoughts; being indecisive.

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AccessEAP acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we work on and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using this content are advised that it may contain images, names or voices of people who have passed away
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indig_flags.jpg

AccessEAP acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we work on and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using this content are advised that it may contain images, names or voices of people who have passed away.