As many Australians have faced the challenges of Covid-19 throughout 2020, to say the populations’ mental health has been affected would be an understatement. In addition to the already staggering mental health statistics, common consequences of the pandemic include panic, depression, anger, confusion and financial stress. An estimated 25% to 33% of the population have experienced high levels of worry and anxiety while people with pre-existing disorders are most at risk, requiring more support and the available access to mental health services.
Thankfully, there’s a light in the darkness. National mental health organisation SuperFriend surveyed over 10-thousand workers for their annual Indicators of a Thriving Workplace and found, although the numbers of mental health conditions are up, the response from workplaces has actually improved. How? Through the power of connection.
Communication & Connection is Key
While the challenges of communicating responsibly during a pandemic environment are evolving, encouraging employees to ask questions, maintaining open lines of communications with employees and implementing best communication practices can help the organisation communicate more effectively and responsibly, not only during a pandemic but also in normal, everyday life.
Here are some ways you can start a mental health conversation with your employee, employer or clients:
- Speak candidly about mental health
- Keep the conversation going
- Include all levels of staff
- Encourage employees to take mental health days off
- Pay attention and be ready to help
- Make sure the tools and resources are relevant
- Facilitate access to resources
“According to an ABS study, 45% of Australians between the ages of 16-85 will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. It is estimated that untreated mental health conditions cost Australian workplaces approximately $10.9 billion per year”.
Lack of Mental Health Support
Unfortunately, not all companies or HR departments recognise the importance of mental health issues equally. National Mental Health Commission chair, Lucy Brogden, who also spoke at the report’s release says a lack of action probably has to do with a low level of mental health literacy in HR or organisational leadership. Therefore, it is more important than ever before to spark a conversation about the impacts of mental health to ensure change is permanently implemented.
We’re Here to Help
In light of Mental Health Month, recognised globally in October every year, HRLE would like to acknowledge the struggles you and your company may be facing. We invite you to ask us any questions or voice any concerns here and we will endeavour to assist you. Stay safe Australia!