World Mental Health Day (Saturday, October 10th) aims to raise public awareness of mental health issues around the world and this years’ campaign encourages people to take ownership of their own mental health and wellbeing.
People struggle with mental health issues 365 days per year. People we love, people we work with, people we know. The national focus on mental health issues achieved through R U OK? Day each year helps remind us to check in with family, friends and colleagues, to show support and ask if they are okay when we notice something is not right. To a sufferer of mental health issues, a single day is not enough. To be even more effective, R U OK? needs to be as common and as natural as saying ‘how was your day?’ or ‘is there anything I can do to help?’, questions we feel comfortable using in daily conversation.
According to recent Australian research, there will be 3.7 million more workers aged between 50 years and pension age over the next decade. Australia is now ranked 15th on a global scale when it comes to engaging older staff. As a range of economic, social and policy changes encourage Australian workers to delay their retirement, older people will continue to comprise an increasing share of the employed workforce which will have a huge impact on Australian businesses. Adapting your business to the ageing workforce requires commitment to age based initiatives rather than costly modifications.
Look around you. You may not realise it, but you are surrounded. You may have a few at home. There are countless numbers of them at work. They are on your train, your plane, your bus and even……… in your very own car. Somehow, without us even realising it. They. Are. Everywhere.
Stress Down Day (Friday 24th July) aims to encourage Australians to have fun with family and friends in the hope of reducing stress levels. It’s an easy and fun initiative that highlights the impact that stress can have on our everyday lives.
The Health Profile of Australian Employees study has been analysing mental and physical health trends of Australian workers each year from 2004 to 2014. The study examined up to 7363 workers over a five to ten year period and the most recent findings were released earlier this month.
Financial issues remain one of the leading causes of stress amongst Australians. According to a recent survey, issues related to personal finance was the top source of stress for both men (44 per cent) and women (53 per cent). With unemployment at 6.1 per cent, a sharp drop in mining investment and many industries under pressure, it’s no surprise that financial worries are a growing cause of stress.
Australian business, on average, loses $6.5 billion per annum because mental health issues in the workplace are not being addressed early enough1. This translates to an average cost to an employer of $9,000 per annum for every worker not seeking treatment for a mental health issue. The recent air disaster in the French Alps has also highlighted how serious and devastating the impact of mental health can have on all of us.
While it is something that most managers won’t have to deal with in their career, at times situations can arise in the workplace which can be traumatic to employees or have the potential to be traumatic for managers. We call this type of situation a Critical Incident and examples include armed robbery, assault, threats of harm, accidental injury or death. These incidents tend to be rare in most jobs however if they do occur, they can cause psychological distress, or trauma. There are some things you can do as a manager to support staff early after one of these events to reduce the chances of prolonged trauma.
Coping with Disaster and Trauma…..
Being directly or even indirectly involved in a disastrous event can cause immediate and long term disruption to your life. It’s not uncommon to experience a range of intense and sometimes confusing emotions, such as:
Summer holidays allow us to switch off and become refreshed, recuperated and reenergized. The time off can not only give us the opportunity to break any bad habits we have gained during the past year, it also gives us a chance to establish good habits and set new goals for the year ahead.
With the Heads Up campaign in full swing, it’s a good time to remind business owners of the importance of a mentally healthy workplace and their role in creating one. The Heads Up campaign is a joint initiative between beyondblue and the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance and aims to raise awareness of mental health and promote wellbeing in the workplace. Heads Up has released some very interesting stats and figures that highlight the business argument for a mentally healthy workplace.
According to AccessEAP client data, anxiety is the leading mental health issue in Australian workplaces. On average, one in four people will experience an anxiety disorder at some stage in their life. The proportion of Australian adults suffering from anxiety is on the rise and grew by more than 50% in the five years between 2007 and 2012.
This year’s theme for Mental Health Month is ‘be YOUnique’.
Whilst most businesses strive to create teams AccessEAP believes having the ability to recognise each employee’s unique qualities adds value to the team, the individual as well as the company’s bottom line. Smart businesses will encourage employees to accept their own uniqueness and to especially take pride in the qualities that enrich their mental health and wellbeing.