How to approach mental health
in the workplace
It is now emerging that job stress and other work-related psychosocial hazards are one of the leading contributors to the burden of occupational disease and injury.
‘Unhealthy’ work environments or workplace incidents can also cause considerable stress. It may also exacerbate or contribute to the development of mental illness.
A PwC and Beyond Blue analysis found that the total impact of untreated mental health conditions to the Australian workforce was approximately $11 billion.
“Australian businesses lose over $6.5 billion annually by failing to provide early intervention/treatment for employees with mental health conditions.”
There are many things that a workplace can do to create a mentally ‘healthy’ environment. These strategies should cover different elements of the business at an individual and organisational level. These can include, but are not limited to:
One of the leading education programs for mental health is mental health first aid training.
Mental health first aid (MHFA) is the help offered to a person developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health problem or in a mental health crisis.
MHFA training follows the very successful physical first-aid training model. MHFA training does not give the ability to diagnose mental illnesses, but it gives individuals the tools to recognise the signs and symptoms of different mental illnesses and crises, how to offer initial help and how to guide a person towards appropriate professional help.
Research has shown that MHFA training has been associated with:
Everyone would benefit from attending MHFA training.
Mental health first aid is most effective as an early intervention. Early interventions target people who are just developing mental illnesses and aim to prevent problems becoming more serious.
Studies have shown the longer people delay getting help and support, the more difficult their recovery can be. Furthermore, people are more likely to suggest help if someone close to them suggests it.
This can be particularly beneficial in the workplace to: