Last month we took the time to sit down with our team to have a candid and open discussion around managing mental health in the workplace. Our employees’ mental well-being translates directly to improved business performance, and for a small team like ours, this is very important.
We were inspired to raise awareness of anxiety and depression and to check in with our team after purchasing TradeMutt shirts.
TradeMutt and their not-for-profit campaign ‘This Is A Conversation Starter’ (TIACS) looks to remove the physical and financial barriers that prevent so many Australians from reaching out for professional help when they need it. Their bright, colourful shirts (pictured) are an excellent tool that empowers people to speak up and have a chat about managing mental health.
Today, we share some of the topics we discussed with the ConsultANZ team, more information on the great work and messages that TIACS achieves, and resources available to you.
The workshop held with the team was indeed a conversation starter. Many of us shared our experiences with anxiety or depression. We talked about the signs to watch, the struggles, the impact of these conditions on our personal and professional lives, and the help available.
We used Beyond Blue’s ‘Mental Health in the workplace’ toolbox talk training package to guide our chat. This guide covers three topics:
Topic one: About anxiety and depression.
Anxiety is an emotion that evokes feelings of tension, worried thoughts, dread, and panic, to name a few. Anxiety can appear in physical, feeling, thinking and behavioural ways. The experience usually is different according to the individual.
Depression significantly affects how people feel, experience life and cope with day-to-day activities. It is a mood disorder that shows itself in differing degrees of sadness, despair, and loneliness. Some people feel irritable, and some find it hard to concentrate, making life more difficult to manage.
Topic Two: The relationship between the workplace and mental health.
Someone experiencing anxiety and depression can have severe negative impacts on the individual, team, and workplace. Some impacts include:
- Increased number of days off
- Reduced personal finances
- Reduced quality of life
- Lower team morale
- Increased workload and reduced team productivity
Topic three: Taking action to support someone at work.
Approaching someone to discuss their mental health challenges can be a delicate issue. Ensure that this conversation occurs in a quiet and private place, so they have the space to discuss the problems with you freely, encourage them to talk to a professional and even give them the resources available.
At ConsultANZ Recruitment, we talk to people in the construction and civil engineering industries every day. These industries are overwhelmingly male-driven, stressful and with long working hours.
According to research conducted by Deakin University, construction workers (particularly males) have a significantly higher suicide rate than non-construction workers. A construction worker is lost to suicide every second day, and men in the construction industry are 53 per cent more likely to die by suicide than other employed males in Australia. Shockingly, 93% per cent of those workers who die by suicide have not reached out for professional help.
As a company and individually, we are committed to having conversations about mental well-being with our staff and the candidates we place. We understand that a person’s job and career are massive contributors to overall happiness and life satisfaction, so we take each candidate’s circumstances into account before matching them with a suitable employer.
TradeMutt – ‘This Is A Conversation Starter’ Campaign
The stigma around mental health enforces the idea that men should ‘put up and shut up’ rather than seek help from colleagues or mental health professionals. TradeMutt shirts serve as a silent signal of support and a ‘conversation starter’ when seen throughout the construction industry.
You can find out more about Edward and Daniel here.
Don’t worry if you don’t exactly know how to start a conversation about someone’s well-being. Just by noticing the changes in their behaviour, being supportive and listening to them, you might be playing a crucial role in helping them get better.
There are also many free resources that you can share with them.
Websites for information and support:
Someone to talk to:
- Lifeline – 13 11 14 – Lifeline is a 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention service.
- Suicide Call Black Service – 1300 659 467 – The Suicide Call Back Service is a 24-hour, nationwide service that provides telephone and online counselling to people 15 years and over who are suicidal, caring for someone who is suicidal, or bereaved by suicide.
- MensLine – 1300 789 978 – MensLine Australia is the national telephone and online support, information and referral service for men with family and relationship concerns. The service is available from anywhere in Australia and is staffed by professional counsellors experienced in men’s issues.
- SANE Australia – 1800 18 SANE – SANE Australia is a national charity helping Australians affected by mental illness lead a better life through support, training, and education via their helpline and website.
- Talking to your GP is always a good place to start the conversation as well.
Mental health in the workplace
Around 45% of Australians aged between 16 and 85 will experience a mental illness at some point in their life, while one in five Australian adults will experience a mental illness in any given year.
Despite one in five Australians experiencing mental health problems each year, nearly half of all senior managers believe none of their workers will experience a mental health problem at work.
Recognising and promoting mental health is an essential part of creating a safe and healthy workplace. Importantly, managers and workers both have roles to play in building a safe work environment, one that will not create or exacerbate mental health problems and where workers with mental illness are properly supported.
It takes an ongoing effort to talk with your colleagues about mental health. The workplace environment can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental well-being.
At ConsultANZ, we believe that by raising our mental health literacy through training, workshops and candid discussions, we can increase employees’ knowledge of the symptoms and warning signs of depression and anxiety.
Read our previous blog on Mental Health in the workplace.
Source: Copyright © Australian Human Rights Commission
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