Mental Health is back in the news this week with another State lockdown in Victoria and the withdrawal of tennis star Naomi Osaka from the French grand slam at Roland Garros – both highlighting the toll on individual wellbeing of stressful events and situations. It’s time to talk – Mental Health needs to be mainstream.

At Nuffield Group we recognise the importance of positive mental health in creating strong and resilient working environments, leading to increased productivity and staff retention. That’s why we promote building mental health strategies to reduce risk at every workplace.

And it all starts with awareness. Employment is a significant part of a person’s life and employers can affect their employee’s mental health positively and, whether it be intentional or not, negatively. So, to build resilience organisations need to raise awareness; to engage with employees to both prevent and address mental health issues. There are a number of things organisations can do:

  • Jobs can be designed to promote positive mental health and wellness and remove risks like stress or trauma
  • Workplace health programs can be run to raise awareness and open communications to remove the stigma around mental health
  • Support mechanisms can be put in place to identify issues early and assist employees in appropriate ways

Regular, honest and open communications are central to any organisation and especially at times like these when Covid-19 is causing so much uncertainty and anxiety.

Everyone reacts differently to these challenges and organisations must be mindful of the new risks changing procedures can bring. For, example, socially distancing at work or working from home has become the norm during the pandemic but how are these practises impacting your employees? Are they more isolated as a result? Do you need to review and change your support procedures to deal with the ‘new normal’?

Of course, mental health awareness and training programs are an extremely effective way to engage employees and raise their awareness. And, in turn, this improves communications and support structures, empowering individuals to look out for themselves as well as their fellow workers.

Nuffield Group has worked with Lifeline Australia to produce and distribute a “Workplace Mental Health Resource for Managers” to our customers via our membership platform, GNTX. Given the importance of this resource and the ongoing challenges we all face, we’re also making it available free here.