With more and more Australians reporting work to be a major source of stress and research suggesting that one in six working age person is suffering from mental illness, managers need to take more responsibility in an effort to reverse this worrying trend. Workplaces need to move beyond promoting mental health awareness, and focus on mentally healthy workplaces. This suggests thinking about the way work is designed and what changes can be introduced to prevent psychological harm to employees.
It's time to put ourselves first. The two biggest barriers for women not maintaining a healthy lifestyle is ‘lack of time’ and ‘health not being a priority’. Women’s Health Week is the time to put ourselves first, for just one week, and start making positive changes that can last a lifetime. We know women are leading busier lives than ever before and we have a tendency to let ourselves slip low on our priority lists. However, the health of those we love starts with us. By investing more time in ourselves, we are better able to look after the ones we love and care about. Click on the image below to find out more and register.
Half of all Australian men will have a mental health problem at some point in their life and 1 in 8 will experience depression, yet they are far less likely to open up about what is affecting them than their female counterparts. With a recent focus on promoting a healthy body and healthy mind, AccessEAP is doing its part in building awareness in some of the more male orientated workplaces such as construction sites and mines.
Talking about what’s affecting them and taking action are proven ways for men to stay mentally healthy but it’s still difficult to get men to take that all important first step. Often in male dominated industries, the macho mentality still exists where men are reluctant to show sadness or vulnerability for fear of the perception of weakness. If men don’t feel like they can open up and access help, it can have a detrimental effect on their mental health, physical health and overall wellbeing.
AccessEAP has introduced toolbox talks in an effort to raise mental health awareness. These sessions focus on increasing awareness of mental health issues and helping men to see that everyone needs help and that help is available.
AccessEAP has already provided tailored toolbox talks to organisations in the manufacturing, mining and construction industries and is amazed by the immediate effect it has had on participants. Often at the beginning of a session, we struggle to get men to talk but by the end, they can be reluctant to leave and AccessEAP has witnessed large scale discussion amongst participants about issues that may be affecting them in their personal or work life long after the session has ended. The toolbox talks are not only helping men to reach out for help, but also show them their organisation cares about them and values their wellbeing.
Recent data from AccessEAP shows that anxiety (17%), relationship with partner (14%) and depression (14%) are the leading personal issues for which men seek assistance while workplace stress (15%), career concerns (10%), and fear of loss of job (8%), are the leading workplace issues. The work impact of these issues is difficulties in concentrating, feeling less productive and 12% have even considered resigning.
Men’s priorities tend to change with age and with that come work commitments, longer hours and the possibility of family commitments. It is often difficult to keep in touch with friends and invest time in hobbies, which can lead to a lack of social connection. Without someone to talk to about the demands of a stressful job, long hours or family troubles, these everyday stresses can develop into something much more serious.
Managers and employees need to educate themselves about the behaviours that may indicate a colleague is going through a tough time and learn ways to encourage them to seek help if you’re concerned for their welfare.
Here are some tips to help men reach out in times of need;
- Seeking help is positive for your mental health. It is not a sign of weakness
- The best health is achieved with looking after both your physical and mental health
- Make self-care a priority and set goals for sleep, exercise and “me” time
- Maintain social contact and keep in touch with friends and family
- Equip yourself with the tools and strategies you need to cope with challenging life events. Start with a confidential EAP counselling appointment.
The afterglow of the holiday period is gradually fading as many Australians face the reality of their holiday spending spree. With Australians spending nearly $10 billion on Christmas presents last year1 and almost two million saying the festive season will leave them with worrying debt2, it is not surprising stress levels skyrocket post holidays.
Returning to work after the fun of the holiday period brings a dose of reality. Someone who has spent more than they planned can feel out of control and stressed that they haven’t managed their funds as well as they perhaps should have. While stress is a normal part of life, constant levels of negative stress, or distress, can affect many parts of a person’s life, such as health, family, marriage and work.
Traumatic events such as the shooting and car rampage in Melbourne CBD disrupt lives physically and psychologically, creating intense emotional distress for individuals, families and whole communities. Organisations play a vital and valuable role in assisting and supporting their employees and their families in the immediate aftermath and in the days, weeks and months following this tragic event.
Economic considerations are one of the determining factors in whether a woman will leave or return to an abusive relationship, making it crucial for companies to develop policies in order to support staff experiencing domestic violence with paid employment.
Despite the common belief domestic violence is a private issue, the costs to the community suggest otherwise, with a 2015 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers estimating that violence against women costs $21.7 billion a year, with victims bearing the brunt of this cost.
Almost three-quarters of Australian workplaces have no formal policy or procedure for managing staff mental health issues, according to a recent survey by law firm MinterEllison.
Clear policies are crucial to encourage good mental health in the workplace, as is strong leadership to implement them. It is not enough for a workplace to provide a phone number for counselling sessions. Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace, which includes identifying mental health risks in the workplace and taking action to mitigate these. While this must be led from the top, employees also have a responsibility.
Increasingly, employed women who have families are expected to juggle a multitude of tasks, managing many and varied demands and responsibilities across their personal and work lives. Between being mothers, carers – of children or aging parents, attending social and work commitments and tending to household responsibilities, women are juggling the expectations of multiple roles.
Now more than ever companies need the support to manage mental health issues in the workplace. A recent survey reported in the Australian Financial Review found mental health issues in the workplace have risen 56 percent in the last year.
This week I attended a seminar hosted by the National Safety Council of Australia Foundation and Sparke Helmore Lawyers which addressed what businesses need to know about managing mental health in the workplace.
The seminar was attended by more than 150 human resource and workplace health and safety professionals from various industries and hosted an impressive panel of experts – Lucy Brogden, National Mental Health Commissioner at the National Mental Health Commission; Tim Moran, Acting Head of Workplace Engagement at beyondblue; and Bill Kritharas, Partner at Sparke Helmore.
The new financial year is here and with it comes tax time. For many Australians this is a stressful time. According to recent research by H&R Block and Officeworks, nearly half of Australians report they find the tax preparation process stressful, with around a third saying they resent tax time, leaving preparations until the last minute. Usually, that stress is exacerbated by lack of knowledge, planning and time constraints which can linger long into the new financial year.
Most of us would have come across a difficult person at some point in our lives and most likely it has happened in the workplace. These individuals may come across as aggressive, intimidating or controlling, which can lead to conflict and have a detrimental impact on the person on the receiving end. However, it’s important to develop strategies to successfully manage challenging workplace conflicts so we aren’t doomed to a high conflict and overstressed workplace.
This week is Men’s Health Week (13-19 June). It is all about promoting men’s health and wellbeing, yet one of the biggest challenges is the fact that Australian men are not opening up. As this culture of stoicism continues to rise, we should be encouraging men to reach out and discuss their feelings with others in both their professional and personal lives.
According to the annual Stress in America survey commissioned by the American Psychological Association, Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) are the most stressed generation. This is echoed by AccessEAP’s own statistics which show that 40% of Australian Millennials list anxiety as their top personal issue, versus 31% of Generation X and 29% of Baby Boomers.
Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”
Here are five ways to help you give and receive meaningful compliments that will lift the person you are complimenting as well as putting you in a positive mood.
1. Be Specific
Detail is the heart of a great compliment. The fact that you have noticed something specific shows that you are attentive and engaged, you might even say mindful. Compliments that indicate you have paid attention or that the recipient has done something that has really made a difference will be much more valued.
2. Be Genuine
If you are specific with your compliment then you are well on the way to being genuine also. Forcing a compliment because you feel its expected will appear insincere. Meaning what you say and feeling compelled to give praise when it is due is exactly what drives a genuine and meaningful compliment.
3. Be Timely but don’t take too much time
Choosing to compliment a colleague about their appearance before they give a presentation may be out of context and could actually unsettle them rather than have a positive impact. Waiting too long to give praise can also diminish its effect.
4. Don’t expect anything in return
Say what you intend to, face-to-face is the best way to make sure it is heard, let it sink in and then move on. The recipient may say “thank you” but don’t wait around or repeat the compliment forcing a response.
5. Be Gracious
When you are on the receiving end of a compliment, the only way to accept it is graciously. Self deprecation can make the giver feel silly or that they lack judgment in noticing something unworthy of praise. A meaningful compliment is to be enjoyed, take it in and experience the lift it can give. You are now in an even better position to give compliments yourself.
A recent survey, estimates that absenteeism directly costs organisations approximately $578 per employee per absent day, which leads to an annual cost to the economy in excess of $44 billion.₁ With a 39% rise in stress, anxiety and depression related absenteeism within the last year₂, businesses are recognising healthcare as a worthy investment of company resources.
For the fifth year in a row, Australians have rated financial issues as the top cause of stress according to Australian Psychological Society’s recent Stress and Wellbeing survey. Anxiety symptoms in 2015 were the highest they have been in five years with an alarming 35 per cent reporting a significant level of stress in their life. With so much uncertainty across a number of industries and the cost of living rising rapidly, it is no wonder financial related stress is so prominent.
The mindfulness wave is sweeping across the Australian corporate world with many large companies all undertaking corporate-based mindfulness programs. The holiday break is an important time for recuperation in preparation for the year ahead, reinforcing the importance of practicing mindfulness throughout the holidays.