Mental Health in the Workplace
The conversation around a healthy work/life balance seems to become more prevalent every year. Staff at all levels, want to make it clear where the line is between their work life and home life, especially following an increased shift to working from home.
When thinking about mental health – it’s important to acknowledge the role of the workplace, regardless of where work ends and life begins.
Mental health problems can not only occur or manifest at work, but the workplace is often where early warning signs and symptoms can get noticed first. At least one in five Australians (21%) have taken time off work in the past 12 months because they felt stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy, and this number doubles among those who consider their workplace mentally unhealthy. While we may want to draw a line between when we do and don’t check our emails, it’s impossible to find that same clear-cut distinction between when we choose to focus on work and when we choose to care for our mental health.
How we feel when we’re at work and how this manifests itself is a core component of living a mentally healthy and productive life.
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)
A study of Australian employees conducted by TNS Social Research showed 91% of employees and 89% of leaders agree on the importance of a mentally healthy workplace. A workplace that can acknowledge and embrace positive mental health as part of their culture is also likely to be much more productive as employees are able to care for themselves and each other without being concerned about retribution for ‘lost time’.
Having mental health first aid skills within a workplace means that anyone can assist someone who’s developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis, and proper MHFA training can teach people the skills needed to properly support someone they’re concerned about.
Once established in a workplace, MHFA has been proven to decrease stigma while increasing mental health literacy and the confidence to support colleagues experiencing a mental health problem or crisis. Implementing the right form of training for your business has been identified as one of the key strategies that can lessen the impact of mental health problems on productivity – and many workplaces are already using MHFA training as a foundation for their mental health strategy.
There are a range of different courses to choose from whether you are an individual or an organisation. MHFA courses teach adults the skills to offer initial support to other adults who are experiencing a mental health problem or crisis. The training is flexibly delivered to meet workplace needs.
We know that millions of Australians are going to work each day while experiencing a mental health problem. The good news is that for every $1 spent on mental health strategies like MHFA there is a $2.30 or greater return on investment – benefitting workplaces that ask their employees to support and care for each other, and not just to get the job done.