12 October 2020

A woman and man look at a phone at work while talking about mental health

Following World Mental Health Awareness Day, it’s National Mental Health Week across Australia.

In a year that has been marked by uncertainty and distress, this week provides us all with motivation to see how we’re looking after our mental health and that of the people around us - especially in the workplace.
 
Amongst major national initiatives, we are being asked to Make a Promise to prioritise mental health and wellbeing. 
 
For Leaders, this promise should also extend to your workforce - what promise are you making this week? 

The timing is perfect

Nobody in Australia has been immune to the trials of 2020 – as leaders, one of the most challenging aspects of our roles today is balancing organisational pressures with the myriad of personal pressures our teams are facing.  
 
In many industries, as a result of the financial downturn and sudden changes to supply and demand, everything seems more urgent and more important than ever. 
 
Together with our personal circumstances at home - such as increased caring responsibilities, domestic strain, or health concerns - and those of our families, friends, colleagues and employees, it can feel like we regularly facing an unwinnable situation.
 
“As a senior leader, this is a critical moment to take time out for reflection,” says Simon Brown-Greaves, Chief Executive Officer of organisational wellbeing consultancy FBG Group.
 
“It is easy to stay in crisis and response mode, because there is so much to do – but pausing for breath makes sure that we are doing the right things in the right order,” he added.

Two men talk during mental health week


Health and financial benefits

By taking this week to reflect and invest in the mental health of our teams, we can make a difference. 
 
KPMG, in partnership with Mental Health Australia, have identified that workplace mental health improvement initiatives may generate a return on investment of around $4.5 billion for Australian businesses.

These savings come from reducing unplanned absences and presenteeism (going to work despite being unwell) from those experiencing poor mental health. 

The study underlines how there is a financial and moral imperative to invest in creating a mentally healthy workplace for ourselves and our team members.



 

In Australia, we have access to many resources and events for Mental Health Week – with several organisations also extending their attention for a Mental Health Month. 
 
Organisations in each state and territory are hosting events and providing resources around local themes. 
 
These aim to engage as many of us as possible in positive and proactive discussions and actions to improve mental health, at an individual, organisational and governmental level. 
 
We encourage you to use this week to pause and make a change that will make a difference – large or small. 
 
And remember to seek out proven and validated resources, so you can be sure that your investment is rewarded – we have included a few good options below.

Work colleagues talk about mental health
 

Useful resources

  • FBG Group and Communicorp both offer professional and researched interventions that have proven benefits for workplaces.
  • Employee Assistance Program provider Assure Programs are advising leaders how to make EAPs work for their team’s mental health.
  • Heads Up offer practical and engaging resources for employers and workers.
 

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