Legal and ethical obligations aside, research commissioned by beyondblue found that two thirds of employees (67%) and leaders (68%) surveyed agreed that workplace mental health is a shared responsibility.
Around 1 in 5 Australian adults are affected by a mental health condition every year. Yet research suggests many people with mental health issues feel isolated, often at times when they need support the most.
There is a very real history of ignorance, prejudice and discrimination – or ‘stigma’ – surrounding mental health. Because of this, many are wary of opening up about personal mental health challenges for fear of being viewed in a negative and inaccurate way. Just over half of people in Australian workplaces (56%) surveyed believed their most senior leaders valued mental health.
Unfortunately, this stigma can be a significant barrier to people reaching out to get the support and treatment they may need, just as they would for any other illness.
So what can we all do to help change this?
To help reduce the stigma of mental health, it’s critical to take the time to really listen and understand the needs the people you lead.
It can be as simple as taking a more active role to:
It is important to never underestimate the role you play in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of your people – not just during mental health month, but every working day.
The beyondblue research suggests that while 4 in 5 (81%) leaders surveyed work in organisations that has policies, procedures or practices to support mental health, more than a third of their employees (35%) don’t know these resources exist or aren’t able to access them.
Good leaders tend to be those who are committed to the health and happiness of their people. With that commitment comes a responsibility to protect and help maintain, as is reasonably practicable, the physical and mental health, safety, and wellbeing of the people you lead – and that can be as simple as finding out what support your organisation offers and helping your employees get the help they need.
beyondblue. State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia [Online] 2014 [Accessed Sept 2017] Available from: www.headsup.org.au
Mental Health Association NSW Inc. Stigma [Online; last updated Jul 2010; accessed Sep 2015] Available from: www.mentalhealth.asn.au
National Alliance on Mental Illness. Mental health conditions [Online; accessed Sep 2015] Available from: www.nami.org
SANE Australia. Research report 1: Mental illness and social isolation [Online; accessed Sep 2015] Available from: www.sane.org
Time to Change. Mental health and stigma [Online; accessed Sep 2015] Available from: www.time-to-change.org.uk
Check these nine signs that may indicate stress is a problem for you.
Promoting healthy emotional and mental wellbeing in your team can be a key part...
Use this checklist to ensure you and your team are demonstrating behaviours to help...