Mental health is the new black with business actively seeking better ways to manage workplace mental health. Stress, anxiety, depression and drug use are recognised as the most common mental health disorders (Australian Bureau of Statistics, March, 2016; World Health Organisation, 2014). These disorders are negatively affected by high job demand, burnout, a lack of job resources and personal health issues exacerbated by stress and anxiety at while at work.
Mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, burnout, alcohol and drug related behaviours reduce well-being and result in lost productivity through absenteeism, presenteeism and low work engagement (Grawitch, et al, 2017). The loss of productivity and high cost of rehabilitation (13.3 weeks off work and $22,200 average costs per claim) has seen organisations seeking increased mechanisms within their well-being programmes. Depression is also clearly linked to suicide with 3,000 deaths each year. Recently, there has been a call to rename the term ‘suicide’ to “death by depression”. Professor Peter Jones, Dean of Medicine at Bond University, believes its time we focused on the leading underlying cause of depression.
Research conducted by the University of Tasmania’s Work, Health and Wellbeing Network provides three strategies to better manage mental health in the workplace:
Undertake stigma reduction and mental health literacy programs to foster a work environment where people are able to seek help early without adverse consequences in the workplace
Effectively responding to employees with a mental health problem, regardless of cause, is a critical component of the integrated approach. Workplaces can play an important role in encouraging employees to seek help early for mental illness.
Ensure clear roles, responsibilities and processes for supporting employees with mental illness
Having appropriate supports in place for employees recovering from a mental health problem can mean the difference between them recovering faster and staying in their job, or leaving their employer or the workforce altogether. Ensuring there is clarity regarding roles and responsibilities in this area, is critical to creating a supportive work environment for employees.
Implement flexible work practices to facilitate accommodation of individual needs
Flexible work practices enables individuals to make adjustments to their changing circumstances and can assist employees in balancing work and personal commitments, while meeting business
needs and objectives. Flexibility should be tailored to the individual needs of employees, rather than a one size fits all approach.
Part of an integrated approach to manage workplace mental health better is to include online and mobile solutions such as All of Me. This software platform helps organisations identify staff groups with mental health issues early. It helps to increase mental health literacy by providing refresher training on workplace stressors that impact mental health. Finally, it provides an alternative method non-confrontational way to encourage help-seeking.
Why Consider Tap into Safety?
- There are providers who deliver mental health training and there are others who can run a diagnostic through surveys to gauge staff mental health state. The problem is engagement and accurate collection of data (people often only tell you what they think you want to hear). Tap into Safety is unique in that it offers training delivered online and via smart devices, anywhere, anytime on relevant workplace topics that impact mental health using fun animation, gamification and interaction. As part of a well-being programme the solution helps business to manage workplace mental health better by providing relevant and interactive training.
- The solution offers ‘one click away’ from help to reach out for support (on average only 5% access their EAP when 20% have an issue right now – stigma plays a huge role here). Tap into Safety increases help-seeking by 100% as shown in the product evaluation conducted in 2017. By encouraging help-seeking early we reduce the escalation into serious stress claims.
- Finally, the diagnostic tool (animated, gamified DASS-21) is a world first in its use across organisations, that together with our filters, enables them to pin point groups of staff in mental health decline so that they can target and tailor their wellbeing education programmes. This not only saves them money; their programmes are now more effective.