National Safe Work Month - Mental Health & Wellbeing
Mental Health can affect anyone regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity or social group. The most common forms of mental ill health are anxiety, depression, phobic anxiety disorders and obsessive compulsive disorders. It is anticipated that by 2020 depression will rank second to heart disease as the leading cause of disability worldwide.
Health and wellbeing at work
Connection between health and work:
The connection between physical hazards such as noise, dust and chemical hazards and health are well recognised amongst employers and employees alike. Less well understood is the relationship between mental and physical wellbeing and the jobs we do.
Over two million people report suffering an illness they believe has been caused or made worse by their work.
This can take the form of stress, anxiety, back pain, depression and increased risk of coronary heart disease.
Possible signs of mental illness in the workplace
Poor mental health increases the likelihood of sleep disturbance and anxiety, which can reduce the ability to concentrate on work tasks and production. Fatigue and other outcomes of stress and poor mental health can increase the likelihood of an employee being hurt. Some key signs to look for are:
Constantly feeling down or hopeless
Having little interest or pleasure in doing things
An employee maybe more irritable, restless, feeling tired all the time, or experience a loss of energy
Increase in sick days
Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
Rapid changes of emotional mood
Overall, a person’s usual behaviour changes - they don’t seem their usual selves.
Stress can be defined as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them.”
Employees have responsibilities to talk to their managers about any external influences which can turn otherwise normal pressures of work into excessive ones.
Breaking the silence around mental illness
The negative attitudes and behaviours that surround mental illness prevent many workplaces from understanding how to deal with mental health issues. Stigma can cause co-workers to isolate someone with a problem, and cause those living with mental illnesses to hide their condition.
How do we create an accepting, non-discriminatory environment?
In WorkPac it starts from the top down. Our management strive to ensure a good working culture where differences are valued, discrimination is not accepted, and cooperative and flexible approaches to working situations for everyone are the norm.
This is achieved by fostering an environment that promotes:
What can I do?
There are things that you can do to help yourself be well and stay well. These are the simple, effective things that you know work for you. What's in your wellness toolbox? Some examples include:
Talk to a friend
Eat three healthy meals per day
Play with your family or pet after work
Go for a walk
Do some stretching exercises
Do something nice for someone else
Watch a video
Listen to music
See a counsellor
Ask for a medication check
Get outdoors regularly
Most importantly seek help, speak to someone and don’t struggle through alone! Remember it’s not just a case of trying to be tough, if you don’t feel mentally well seek help.
WorkPac has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provided by Gryphon Psychology; this company offers professional counselling for all employees, partners and dependent children to help resolve personal and work related problems. EAP is a free service and is completely confidential.
This month is National Safe Work Month and is a great opportunity for all of us to focus on promoting safety in the workplace to reduce death, injury and disease. If assistance or information is required relating to WorkPac’s EAP provider Gryphon Psychology, please contact your assigned WorkPac Recruitment Coordinator. The WorkPac Employee Assistance Number is 1800 056 076.