Raising Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace
Mental health can be a concept that many employees are scared to confront. A lack of understanding drives managers to avoid the issue, and co-workers to turn a blind eye if they think they may say the wrong thing or be judged for speaking up.
However, tackling mental health issues at work is critical. And often, it is much less about what we do not say, than what we do say.
Why we should be paying attention
A quarter of our population struggles with their mental health and 1 in 2 Australian adults will face mental illness at some point in their lives. This proves that we need to be actively listening to and looking out for each other.
At Intro, mental health awareness and support is one of our biggest priorities.
According to recent statistics, young men in the construction industry are two and a half times more likely to commit suicide compared to other men their age. 21 per cent of workers in the industry are experiencing a mental health condition.
In 2021 we are proud to see a bigger focus on the recognition of mental health and its role in our individual health, happiness, and productivity across the globe.
The thing is, while the focus has shifted toward mental health awareness, the education surrounding it has not caught up. There are many people mindful of the importance of psychological wellbeing and its impact on our communities, but they rarely know the actionable steps to make a real difference.
We must redirect our communities and businesses onto skills and tools to not only recognise mental illnesses, but support and nurture our peers to heal.
Raising awareness and reducing stigma for mental health has the potential to result in early intervention, which can lead to a quick recovery. By raising awareness and increasing education, we can allow mental health to be seen as something real and not an unfortunate side effect of life.
How Intro supports its employees
Intro is big on supporting our team to develop healthy daily habits including participating in regular exercise, eating nutritious food, maintaining a balanced work/life lifestyle and creating a positive office culture.
Our team is social and inclusive, regularly working out together, holding a weekly cooked breakfast where everyone contributes and attending social events.
We believe this approach helps foster good relationships among our employees and supports their mental health which leads to:
- increased morale, job satisfaction and motivation
- improved mental alertness, and concentration and energy levels
- decreased stress and other work-related illness
- reduced sick leave and absenteeism
- reduced long-term health problems
- increased ability to attract and retain new employees.
How Intro is making a real difference
Our leaders at Intro are committed to fostering a safe work environment where employees can feel 100 per cent themselves and be totally supported.
Intro has done some work fundraising with ‘Livin’ organisation. Founded on the Gold Coast Queensland, this foundation works to ‘break the stigma of mental health’.
Livin has made it their mission to:
- Help promote wellness and positive living for young people through awareness and early education programs.
- Encourage young people to be open, engage in conversation and be vulnerable.
- Connect to young people through innovative means.
- Create a movement with a brand that makes mental health relatable, and that people can build an enduring relationship with.
In light of this much-needed conversation, Intro has booked to participate in an educational program by Livin building on the mantra ‘It Ain’t Weak to Speak’. Additionally, we have taken the time to develop a mental health tool kit, that can be anonymously accessed through the shared files on our internal system.
This means our employees can retrieve a multitude of tools, checklists, activities and videos to support their psychological health in addition to being generally supported in our inclusive team environment.
Your mental health in the workplace
Heads-up, an organisational division by Beyond Blue, provides the following advice on mental health in the workplace:
Deciding to tell others:
This is by far one of the most daunting parts of mental illness. You can take solace in the fact that everything after this will become easier if people know.
It is important to emphasise that telling others at work can be more challenging, there is no right or wrong way to go about this. The reality is that choosing to tell others at work can affect your role in terms of safety. However, while these consequences exist, discussing how you feel with your colleagues or leaders gives you and your employer the opportunity to speak about support or changes that may need to occur to assist you in your recovery.
By sharing your experience, you can help change people’s attitudes, it may mean others feel comfortable to open-up about their struggles and seek support.
Helping a workmate:
Although the level of support you provide may be dependent on the relationship you have with your workmate, there are multiple avenues you can go down.
Approaching mental health with a peer:
- Don’t wait for the ‘perfect moment’, it doesn’t exist
- Open-up about your own mental health
- Be clear when you ask, ‘how are you really feeling?’
- It doesn’t have to be in person
- Feeling uncomfortable is part of it and it won’t last.
Exactly what you can do?
- Engage in a conversation with them about how they may be feeling
- Suggest they seek support
- Offer to help them make an appointment
- Ask how their appointment went
- Spend time speaking about their experiences.
Some signs that someone may be struggling with their mental health:
- Constantly anxious or worried
- Low motivation and energy
- Losing interest in hobbies
- Sleep problems
- Major weight or appetite changes
- Quiet or withdrawn
- Substance abuse
- Noticeable changes in behaviour.
Let us work together to create a destigmatised, supportive culture in and out of the workplace.