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The importance of creating a community that’s focused on mental health

Madison Tong

Sep 26, 2019

An ongoing conversation we’ve had throughout the year is the importance of creating and maintain a mentally healthy workplace. And while there is still a lot to be done within this area, it is exciting to see how the conversation surrounding mental health has been progressing. 

Statistics from the latest report done by KPMG for World Suicide Prevention Day found that Australia’s suicide rate is set to go up by 40% in the next decade. With risk factors such as debt, isolation and loneliness being the major contributing factors. 

And while these factors are not necessarily business related, it is important to understand that we all play a part in helping to prevent this. Mental health is something that affects an entire community. Regardless of whether a suicide occurs within or outside of work hours, we have a responsibility to look after those around us. Because the reality is, that the line between our personal and work life is often blurred. We bring our entire selves to work and very often what happens in the workplace also follows us home.

We’ve seen the positive effects of creating an inclusive workplace. Recently somebody from our last Roundtable shared with us how their ‘Stop for Safety’ sessions had encouraged an employee to open up and share their own experience living with a mental illness. It is by creating an inclusive approach to mental health within the workplace that we are able to de-stigmatise the issue and encourage employees to share their experiences and seek support from those around them.

However, this alone is not enough. Peta, a psychologist with 25 years’ experience in clinical and executive psychology, and the creator of Australia’s Biggest Mental Health Check In, put forward a compelling case towards the importance of consistently measuring mental health. Stating thatuntil we have consistent data across industry, we won’t have the opportunity to identify the trends that are contributing to the increasing prevalence of mental ill-health and suicide rates.”

mental health discussionIt is vitally important for us to conduct industry-wide research as it allows us to identify trends, and therefore find solutions that create sustainable prevention and support for our people. Australia’s Biggest Mental Health Check In is a free tool to help companies gain insights into this area and is to be released soon.

Already we’ve seen some fantastic insights conducted on mental health within the police and emergency as shared by Geri from Beyond Blue, which has revealed the following findings:

  • Culture and practices in the workplace are as harmful to employees as experiencing trauma firsthand
  • Mental health issues escalate when they are not shared, reported or acted on
  • A supportive culture – identified as employees feeling safe to speak up – can act as a buffer for those at risk of mental ill-health.

At A Human Agency we are dedicated to helping industries move towards creating and maintain mentally healthy workplaces. If you want some help or wish to be included in future discussions at our Roundtable, get in touch!

If at any point, as an individual, you feel like you are not sure where to turn and need support, here are a number of incredible resources that you can check out. Or call lifeline on 13 11 14. Please do not be afraid to reach out and ask for help.

Sources
 https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/sep/10/australias-suicide-rate-to-rise-40-if-emerging-risks-such-as-debt-not-tackled

Topics: culture mental-health

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