Psychological Safety Training
Workplace Mental Health
Any of us can experience a mental health struggle or illness.
Like our physical health, mental health status is responsive to
our environment. If we go a couple of weeks without exercising
while skipping breakfast, spending a smidge too long around
the cheese platter at a function and exchanging sleep for Netflix
raises hand sheepishly there’s an inevitable impact which
might be loss of fitness, higher cortisol from lack of sleep and low
energy through poor nutrition. When we spend upwards of eight
hours in an environment where we feel uncomfortably under the
pump, work extended hours against unrealistic and unachievable deliverables, where we eat at our desk or not at all, where we feel demoralised, undervalued, or unsafe, the impact on our mental health is indisputable.
Hello – prolonged stress response, hello – triggers to mental health issues. Imagine a toxic workplace mental health environment where ideas and contributions are repeatedly shut down, ignored or even stolen, where vulnerability is to be avoided at all costs, where harassment, overt or otherwise, is the norm. There are little boundaries and people could – and do – describe the workplace as toxic and dysfunctional. The end result over time is burnout, high stress, poor retention and low engagement. It’s really quite simple and frightening- to consider what a workplace like this means for mental health.
We have all experienced these types of workplaces and for many of us we have been conditioned to accept these conditions and not complain. Happily, today’s generations don’t accept this state of affairs and in their search for work life balance and a more holistic approach to careers they demand a better and safer workplace from both physical and mental health perspective which in turn is driving the push to improve workplace mental health.
- While work-related stress isn’t necessarily the sole cause of mental illness or distress, the
workplace plays a significant role in both exacerbating and mitigating mental health
The ultimate aim of workplace mental health is to have a psychologically safe workplace.
Psychological safety is a concept from positive psychology that, at the core, is about creating environments where staff and people feel valued, respected and safe. It’s a cultural extension or expression of Workplace Health and Safety which as we have pointed out typically has a physical focus. Psychological safety is about creating a space where people are enabled to show themselves without fear of a negative outcome to their self-image, their self-worth or their career.
A psychologically safe workplace on the other hand is one where people feel connected and valued. Coined by Professor Amy Edmondson of Harvard Business School, psychological safety is broadly measured in a workplace across four questions:
1. To what is the degree to which it is permissible to make mistakes?
2. To what degree can difficult and sensitive topics be discussed openly?
3. To what degree can you be yourself and are welcome for this?
4. How much are people willing to help each other?
Mentally healthy workplaces shouldn’t be viewed as the holy grail. They should be the norm.
- Mentally healthy workplaces are where people feel productive, engaged and connected.
They have a demonstrable impact on an organisations’ bottom line AND on the impact of
people’s experiences with mental health struggles.
Mental Health at Work Training
Mental health at work training is an absolute necessity given the state of play in the Australian business community. Mental health is the number one issue with employees, and it is obvious that the past three years of social trauma have left a lasting impact on our community and changed the expectations of people in the workforce.
Never before have we had a realisation that the mental wellbeing of our employees is equal if not more important than their physical wellbeing. Mental health in the workplace is the key to all other aspects of running a business.
Mentally healthy workplaces are where people thrive. On the flipside, toxic workplace damage mental health. Central to the WeCARE365 approach is reducing stigma and creating a care movement.
Central to this care movement is a commitment to setting up effective mental health at work training. Employees have come to expect physical wellbeing initiatives in the workplace and while there is still a way to go to solve this area, especially in dangerous industries, the general concepts are understood and appreciated and abided by through
workplace health and safety regulations and employment laws.
Mental health on the other hand is a relatively new concept in the workplace and it is therefore imperative that mental health at work training is taken up, structured into policies and procedures and measured through effective KPI’s. It’s easier than you think to create a mentally healthy workplace – and it’s as accessible as your mobile phone. We get a bit miffed at the belief that mentally healthy workplaces are as rare as hen’s teeth because we know just how simple it actually is to create one.
In our case at WeCARE365, it’s giving people the tools to create mentally healthy workplaces.
We believe that everyone holds responsibility for a mentally health workplace. It doesn’t lie at the feet of the handful of individuals who have completed specific training. The research backs this up, and when you consider the fourth measurement in psychological safety above, How much are people willing to help each other? We take it one step further and propose that people need not just to be willing to help but to be upskilled to do so.
Learn more about our online training.
WeCARE365 is purpose-built around this concept. As a program, it is ongoing with easy to implement touchpoints to build, extend and maintain psychological safety across the workforce. This in turn creates a mentally healthy workplace to stop little problems becoming bigger by helping people to identify when someone is struggling and to guide them to the help they need.
WeCARE365 is scalable, customised training for mentally healthy workplaces. To find out more about bringing WeCARE365 to your organisation please reach out for a conversation.