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Creating a mentally healthy workplace


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Presentation by Hunter Institute of Mental Health Director Jaelea Skehan for PwC - Workplace mental health: Good for people, good for business.

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Creating a mentally healthy workplace

  1. 1. Workplace mental health: Good for people, good for business
  2. 2. Hunter Institute of Mental Health The Hunter Institute of Mental Health is a leading national organisation dedicated to reducing mental illness and suicide and improving wellbeing for all Australians. For 25 years we have been delivering successful, evidence-based mental health and suicide prevention programs from our base in Newcastle, NSW.
  3. 3. What does mental health mean to you? • State of wellbeing, where we can realise our potential, cope with normal stressors, live and work fruitfully, and make a contribution to society. • More than the absence of illness.
  4. 4. If we are mentally healthy we… • Feel well, think well, act well • Realise our own potential • Are able to cope with normal stresses of life • Work productively and fruitfully • Contribute to our community.
  5. 5. Influences on mental health? • Structural: e.g. safe working conditions, employment security, inclusive workplace etc. • Community: e.g. sense of belonging, access to social support, freedom from bullying etc. • Individual: ability to deal with thoughts, manage life and cope, good physical wellbeing.
  6. 6. Mental ill-health is an umbrella term which encompasses: • Mental illness or mental disorder is a diagnosable illness that significantly interferes with an individual's cognitive, emotional or social abilities. There are different types of mental illnesses and each of these will occur with a different degree of severity. • A mental health problem also interferes with a person's cognitive, emotional or social abilities, but may not meet the criteria of an illness. Mental health problems often occur as a result of life stressors, and are usually less severe and of shorter duration than mental disorders, although they may develop into mental disorders.
  7. 7. Mental health/mental illness Mental Wellbeing Continuum Optimal wellbeing ------------- Minimal mental wellbeing (flourishing) (languishing) Mental Illness Continuum Minimal mental illness ----------- Maximal mental illness
  8. 8. Mental health/mental illness e.g. worker with high level of wellbeing but has a diagnosis of mental illness. e.g. worker with high level of wellbeing and no mental illness. e.g. worker with no diagnosable mental illness but low level wellbeing. e.g. worker experiencing a mental illness with low wellbeing. Maximal mental illness Minimal mental illness
  9. 9. What is the prevalence and impact of mental ill-health in the workplace?
  10. 10. Mental illness One in five people will experience a mental illness in any 12-month period.
  11. 11. Mental illness – national data 0.0 5.0 10.0 15.0 20.0 25.0 Any Anxiety disorder Any Affective disorder Any Substance Use disorder Any 12-month mental disorder % Males Females All Persons
  12. 12. Impact on workplaces • Productivity - Estimated cost $10.9 - $20 billion per year • Absenteeism - $4.7 billion per year • Presenteeism - Estimates of 18 days lost per year ($6.1 billion) • Injury - Risk of injury greater.
  13. 13. Can work contribute to mental ill-health? • Generally working is good for our mental health • But, many work factors can contribute to mental health problems or make existing problems worse • When work related stress is high and ongoing it can be a risk factor for mental illness • It is important to PREVENT issues where possible and mitigate risk where it is not possible.
  14. 14. An introduction to the promotion of mental health and wellbeing and the prevention of mental ill-health in the workplace.
  15. 15. Prevention First: workplaces
  16. 16. Actions to prevent the onset of mental ill-health in the whole workplace population (including families and community) Action Area 1 Actions to prevent the onset of mental ill-health in groups at higher risk within the workplace and community Action Area 2 Actions to identify and intervene early with individuals showing early signs of mental ill-health in the workplace Action Area 3 Actions to support referrals to appropriate treatment and return to work plans for those experiencing acute periods of mental ill-health Action Area 4 Actions to reduce the ongoing impact of mental ill-health on individuals entering or returning to work Action Area 5 Actions to promote mental health and wellbeing in individuals experiencing or recovering from a diagnosed mental illness in the workplace Action Area 6
  17. 17. Mental health promotion • Mental health promotion is about enhancing social and emotional wellbeing and quality of life. • Initiatives can occur:  with whole populations (e.g. the whole workplace), selected groups (e.g. managers, female staff, young staff) or individuals  in any setting (e.g. workplaces, the home, schools, communities, health settings). • Mental health promotion is relevant to all people, whether they have a diagnosed illness or not.
  18. 18. Platforms for action 1. Healthy workplace policy – e.g. stigma reduction, social inclusion, OH&S policies, HR policies. 2. Creating supportive environments – e.g. anti-bullying programs, strengthening families, healthy work initiatives. 3. Strengthening workplace and communities to take action – peer support, worker-led initiatives. 4. Developing personal skills– e.g. life skills training, mental illness literacy, parenting skills, financial management. 5. Reorienting OH&S services to a promotion and prevention approach – e.g. inclusion of mental health and wellbeing.
  19. 19. Prevention of mental ill-health Prevention interventions work by focusing on reducing risk factors and enhancing protective factors. Activities may work at three main levels and seek to: • primary prevention - prevent the onset or development of a problem or illness: types = the whole workplace and groups at higher risk • secondary prevention - lower the severity and duration of an illness through early detection and referral to appropriate treatment • tertiary prevention - reduce the impact of an illness through rehabilitation back into the workplace.
  20. 20. Managing mental health at work Mental health problems, mental illness Support recovery from illness Support for mental health problems Identify and respond early Reduce individual risk factors Support good health Reduce environ- mental risk factors Reducing risk Promoting recovery *Note – colours align sections to the relevant parts of the Prevention First Framework
  21. 21. Support good health • Ensuring a good fit between the job and the person doing the job • Preparing people well for the work they need to do • Creating a culture of high expectations along with support • Having a culture of fairness and equity • Promoting mental health literacy (how to stay mentally healthy) • Good communication between managers and staff • Increasing social connection and opportunities for peer-support.
  22. 22. Reduce individual risk factors • Reducing drug and alcohol misuse • Support healthy diet and physical fitness • Develop individual skills – financial management, stress management, communication skills • Management of physical injury and/or pain • Options to support workers managing ill-health in family • Provide support and flexibility for staff exposed to traumatic events at work or experiencing difficult life events.
  23. 23. Reduce environmental risk factors • Reduce or manage occupational risks:  tiredness  boredom  accidents  excessive stress  bullying and harassment  disharmony.
  24. 24. Managing mental health at work Mental health problems, mental illness Support recovery from illness Support for mental health problems Identify and respond early Reduce individual risk factors Support good health Reduce environ- mental risk factors Reducing risk Promoting recovery *Note – colours align sections to the relevant parts of the Prevention First Framework
  25. 25. Identify and respond early • Promote awareness of mental illness, signs, symptoms etc. • Support early identification (self or others):  self-identification, peer-identification and support, identification by supervisors or managers. • Promote culture of acceptance of mental health problems • Promote culture that help-seeking is a positive thing • Promote a culture of offering support, expressing concern for work colleagues • Supervisor training to increase skills in raising difficult, personal issues with staff in a helpful, non-threatening way.
  26. 26. Support for mental health problems • Promote use of EAP for early support • Provide immediate first aid for staff experiencing a mental health crisis at work • Reassurance of support for staff receiving treatment for mental illness • Partnerships and referral pathways to mental health providers • Provide or facilitate access to peer-support models and/or online treatment modalities.
  27. 27. Support recovery from illness • Take a positive optimistic approach • Manage absences well • Identify and address any workplace contributing factors • Manage return to work well • Make reasonable adjustments to the work environment • Supervisor training to manage return to work • Facilitate access to support options for family and friends • Address stigma in the workplace.
  28. 28. Workplace responses What can workplaces do?
  29. 29. Factors for success From PwC report • Commitment from senior leaders • Employee participation • Develop and implement policies • Allocated resources for success • Ongoing effort for a sustainable approach • Plan and evaluate outcomes.
  30. 30. Things to think about • What are the barriers to implementing a workplace mental health plan? • What are the opportunities that exist? • How can you work with your current strengths to progress action?
  31. 31. Supports and services Individual: • GP Organisation: • EAP Community: • Mental Health Service • Community Health Service • Drug and Alcohol Service • Relationships Australia • Psychologists, social workers . National: • Emergency 000 • Lifeline 13 11 14 • MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78 Internet resources:
  32. 32.