To develop a positive mental health culture, organisations need to acknowledge the issues, make commitments to improve their knowledge, and facilitate skill development to ensure that employees can take responsibility for their own mental health and wellbeing. Organisations need to strive to meet their legal and moral obligations to support employees battling with mental health issues, and not cause them harm through ignorance or ineptitude.
Developing a Positive Mental Health Culture
Do you want to improve your organisation’s mental health culture? Consider the following actions:
1. Start by giving your organisation a mental health check up
- How big is your risk of psychological injury?
- What measures can you identify which indicate risk? Absenteeism, disputes and complaints, morale issues, worker’s compensation claims (stress), EAP usage, etc.
2. Assess your organisation’s mental health culture
- Do your supervisors and managers know how to recognise and respond to mental health issues?
- Do your employees know how to prevent their own risk of psychological injury?
3. Develop an organisational plan for minimising psychological injury and managing mental health issues in the workplace
Include a clear organisational policy, procedure and accountabilities. This should include:
- Suggestions for reasonable adjustments for any functional impacts;
- Protocols for confidentiality; and
- Suggestions as to how to engage the employee in the planning and implementation of their individual supports.
4. Implement this plan with appropriate education and training for all employees and monitor your organisation’s mental health culture annually, or sooner if warranted by circumstance.
The goals of these programs are to reduce stigma and increase employees’ capacity to support others experiencing mental health issues, as well as to enhance their own mental health and wellbeing. Education and awareness raising can be achieved through many techniques such as:
- Workplace posters
- Information on the organisation’s intranet
- Lunch and learn sessions with guest speakers
- Participation in events such as Mental Health Week
- Articles in newsletters
- Formalised in-house stigma busting and skill building training programs
Such techniques are most effective when implemented with a multi-modal approach.
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