With millions of Australians facing extended lockdowns and restrictions, the isolation has made it harder to not only check in with the people in our world, but also to recognise the early signs of someone struggling.
As we approach R U OK? Day on Thursday 9th September, we are encouraged to genuinely focus on checking in on one another and asking, ‘are they really ok?’
At any one point, 1 in 6 working-age Australians will be suffering from a diagnosed mental illness, and a further 1 in 6 will be struggling with symptoms of poor mental health, such as fatigue, worry and sleep issues. With the added pressures of the past two years, many employees are showing up to work carrying the weight of struggling mental health.
Within a workplace, it’s important to develop a culture where everyone can feel confident asking and answering the simple yet impactful question, ‘R U OK?’ Besides the legal responsibility of providing a safe and healthy workplace, regardless of whether in an office or remote, these conversations can make a real difference to anyone going through a challenging time.
Knowledge is particularly powerful when creating a mentally healthy workplace. By including mental health awareness training as a part of your organisation’s ongoing L&D program, you can empower not only those struggling but their peers as well to recognise the early signs of low mental health.
Mental health issues can affect anyone, regardless of background, age, gender or income, and symptoms often look different from person to person. Providing education to your teams around not only the normalcy of mental health struggles, but the simple signs to look out for in each other, has the potential to change someone’s life.
Make it as easy as possible for employees to reach out for extra support when needed. Consider this pathway as crucial as your team knowing where the fire exits are in an office building. Knowing the pathway to support can make an impactful difference, particularly when someone is in a crisis situation.
Employee EAP and Mental Health Counselling programs are an amazing way to provide wellbeing support to employees. If not available, ensure you have implemented clear promotion for and education around accessible community support options such as those listed below.
With a solid foundation of mental health education, and clear pathways to extra support for anyone struggling, you have already made beneficial steps to creating a mentally healthy workplace. As the year goes on, make time to remind and refresh your teams. Days like R U OK? Day are purposefully developed to help foster an environment within your workplace for conversations around mental health, suicide and suicide prevention.
In partnership with Go1, R U OK? have masterfully developed the online course below, helping your teams learn when and how to ask 'R U OK?' at work. The course is free and accessible, ready to be integrated into your R U OK? Day plans.
In addition, make sure you check out the other amazing workplace resources from RUOK?, including Workplace Champion packs and registration for their R U OK? Day webinar on Thursday 9th September 2021.
Go1 has over 2,000 training modules and resources developed specifically to educate and increase the health and wellbeing of your team. Speak to your Go1 Customer Success Manager today about curating a playlist built to educate and empower.
Please remember, if you are experiencing significant distress, you can reach out to Lifeline 131 114 or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 for immediate support. If you, or anyone you know, is feeling suicidal call the Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 for immediate support.