Is your workplace committed to good mental health?

Did you know that it is Mental Health Week this week?

Mental Health week (from Sunday 5 October 2014) coincides with and marks World Mental Health Day on 10 October.

Mental Health Week aims to educate and engage people about mental health issues.  There is still a high degree of stigma associated with mental health in the workplace – people don’t want to admit to it for fear of being judged, or for fear that it may impact their career progression, or their performance.  So often people suffer in silence.

In workplaces, mental health issues, most commonly depression and anxiety, may come to light in the context of a performance management discussion, or when there is a crisis of some sort.

People with no experience of mental health issues don’t know what to do in these situations.

The most important thing to do if someone comes to you to talk to you about a diagnosis, or a concern that they may need help is to listen, and without judgement. The same applies if you decide to approach someone you think may need help.  It is hard for people to open up about these issues – don’t make it harder by dismissing or passing your own judgement.

Anyone can do a mental health first aid course – you can find the details here (https://mhfa.com.au).  While this topic is a long one here is a very basic list on what to do, based on the guidelines of the mental health first aid course:

A –approach the person, assess and assist with any crisis

L –  listen non-judgmentally.

G – give support and information (look at the Beyond Blue (www.beyondblue.com.au) website for example for resources)

E – encourage the person to get appropriate professional help ( and the best place to start is the GP, or your EAP service, if you have one)

E – encourage other supports (eg, family, friends – encourage them to talk)

The best thing you can do for someone suffering any illness is to be kind, and mental illness is no different.