The first quarter of 2021 is over and we already have our three most popular mental health articles. For this article, we summarise their key points and link back to the original so that you can quickly see what interests you most and read more.
1. How Are Workplaces Dealing With Mental Health?
One of our most popular mental health articles so far this year is about how workplaces are dealing with mental health to support their employees.
There’s a considerable focus on strategies to help workplaces dealing with mental health issues and the pandemic is placing pressure on them to do more. In the past, the focus has been on establishing that supporting the mental health of our employees is actually a workplace issue, rather than placing that in the realm of the individual’s personal responsibility. Today, we are keen to learn what organisations are doing to support worker mental health, why they are doing it and their experiences of managing mental health issues in their workplace.
Some workplaces take extensive initiatives to support worker mental health, others do very little. Some have robust mentally-healthy workplaces, others have a long way to go. Many encounter barriers along the way as well as achieve varying results.
For this article, we look at some research, published last year, that investigates how Australian workplaces are dealing with mental health, the range of initiatives they are using and the barriers they encounter when introducing support programmes.
See our article, How Are Workplaces Dealing With Mental Health?
2. Impact of FIFO/DIDO Isolation on Mental Health
Another of our most popular mental health articles looks at the impact of FIFO/DIDO working arrangements which are regularly used by mining and construction companies. There’s a link between these working arrangements and declining mental health. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic employee mental health is at the forefront of the minds of many organisations because of the increased pressure. FIFO workers, in particular, are faced with lengthened rosters to reduce the number of movements to and from their worksite. In response, the Australian Federal Government increased funding to support additional mental health services.
Using all of this as a backdrop, for this article, we look at some research that was published before the pandemic that investigates the impact of psycho-social isolation which is common in remote work. This study finds that psycho-social isolation is a significant issue for FIFO/DIDO construction workers and that it affects several relationship levels.
Given this was an issue before the pandemic, we can only expect that the problem has been exacerbated in the past 12 months. This research provides recommendations to improve the health and well-being of workers employed under FIFO/DIDO arrangements that may be useful in the current environment.
See our article, Impact of FIFO/DIDO Isolation on Mental Health.
3. Can Shift Work Make You Fat?
Number three in our most popular mental health articles questions if working shift work has an impact on overall health and wellbeing.
Shift work is regularly under review because there is evidence that this type of working arrangement can see workers at risk of developing serious health issues because they fail to get enough sleep. One of the causes of disruptive or ‘short’ sleep is that sleeping times may not be aligned with the body’s natural circadian rhythms. Most people’s circadian rhythms align with light and dark or day and night cycles. However, some people are naturally early risers and others are night owls. Our individual sleep time preferences are known as ‘chronotypes’. The problem is when shift work interrupts our circadian rhythms to stop us from sleeping when we feel we need to.
In this article, we explore shift work, sleep time preferences and the link to chronic diseases such as obesity, cancer, musculoskeletal disorders and declining mental health. The research is limited, but a recent article reviews what is currently available to summarise the findings. Overall, there is a potential association between shift work and poor health.
Reducing staff working night shift is helpful, but eradicating shift work is not an option, especially for critical health services, mining operations, protective services, and other occupations. However, identifying worker’s chronotypes and matching them to shift times may reduce the development of chronic disease and could guide health and safety professionals as they manage the risks for their employees.
See our article, Can Shift Work Make You Fat?
How Can the Tap into Safety Training Platform Help?
Here are some FAQ’s about the Tap into Safety Training Platform that supports our most popular mental health articles with courses to help you comply with the requirement to provide a mentally healthy workplace. It is no longer good practice to simply provide access to an EAP and focus on RUOK Days or Mental Health Week. Organisations must now provide training on how to cope if their employee’s mental health declines and it’s here that the Tap into Safety online and mobile-friendly training platform can really help.
We have 24 microlearning courses across a range of topics including courses for managers that teach coping strategies and advise on where to seek further help. On the Platform, there are also FREE self-help articles and mindfulness breathing exercise meditations.
Q: How long has the Training Platform been available?
A: We formed in June 2014 and since then we have over 1000 businesses using our courses.
Q: How has the platform grown in the past 12 months?
A: There are now 100+ training courses for safety, mental health, leaders, managers and supervisors. All have a consistent training flow, in-built assessment, certificate of completion and comprehensive GAP reporting that shows you where to focus and provides a comprehensive audit trail.
Q: Can you customise your training content for our company’s needs?
A: We can customise any of our courses or build a new one for you. This includes adding your branding or the wellbeing language that you use. Editing is quick and simple and we can build a new course in a week. Ask us what’s coming up in the next few months; we may have just what you’re looking for!
Q: Tell me about your continuous improvement and quality control processes.
A. All training content is regularly reviewed to ensure it meets WHS and mentally-healthy workplace requirements. The Platform is also continually undergoing maintenance with improvements for administrators and trainees.
Q: How can we purchase credits for the platform?
A: You can get started with 20 credits which cost AUD$240. You can pay by credit card or we can invoice and link to your PO. We use Xero accounting to provide invoices for credit card purchases. Invoices are payable within 30 days.
Q: Is there an option for an annual unlimited use plan?
A. For organisations that want unlimited use of the Platform we offer an annual plan. This means unlimited use of everything on the Platform, including new content and the GAP analysis reporting. You’ll be pleasantly surprised about the low fee.