Workplace Mental Health Training
Workplace Mental Health Training
Why do we need it? Mental health has become the number one issue
in our community and workplace. Three years of pandemic, uproar in
Europe and growing partisanship across the community have resulted
in what many pundits call collective trauma. While we try to return to a
new normal it is clear that people are still deeply affected by the events
of the past three years and are far more sensitive and easily impacted.
In a nutshell we are still quite frail, and it doesn’t take much to negatively
As we return to work, whether in a hybrid situation or a more traditional office/factory setup people are looking to prioritise their mental health status in more active ways. People are no longer prepared to put up with situations that were just accepted in the past. Key to this change in attitudes is peoples’ expectation of workplace mental health training. Workplace mental health training ensures that there is a system in place to ensure a strong mentally healthy workplace culture.
Poor mental health cultures can result through several different causes. Leadership that does not prioritise mental health is a major cause of poor cultures. Strong cultures and proper behaviour start at the top and when it is not seen as important by leaders it is inevitable that the organisation is culturally diminished. Leaders that don’t care either overtly or through a lack of care create conditions that engender poor behaviour and in turn a poor workplace culture that inevitably leads to poor workplace mental health. A lack of open and honest leadership also results in people feeling that there is a lack of
trust which is not good.
One of the most important aspects of ensuring employees’ mental health is ensuring that jobs are clearly defined, resourced well, with clear KPI’s and a constant feedback loop to ensure people feel recognised, understood and appreciated. It is very common to see this area of leadership responsibility fail wherein managers are not clear with job definition, expectation or forget to recognise the employee. Often because the manager themselves are very busy trying to prove themselves to those above them. Poor workplace structure and design is one of the most common reasons for unhappy employees.
People now are seeking work life balance. Research shows that people will either move, or not accept promotions, additional responsibility and authority or money if it impacts their work life balance negatively. Employers need to understand this expectation and design their business to cater for people who to stay expect more training, career development and often the ability to be more involved in their community. This wholistic approach builds a business that seeks to participate in the community as
opposed to simply have a commercial relationship.
So, I am sure you can see that it’s not easy to create a healthy workplace. Even with the best of intentions leadership is faced with conflicting priorities and expectations and budgetary constraints. So, it is inevitable that for a myriad of reasons we will need a process that actively ensure peoples mental health is addressed. Hence the need for workplace mental health training.
Workplace Mental Health
A few years ago, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimated the cost of poor workplace mental health to the Australian economy was circa $350 million in direct costs from mental-health related workplace injuries. More critical was the cost of absenteeism at circa $2.6 billion (Yes that’s B for Billion) from reduced days of work for employees with mental ill-health. One of the greatest costs is the hidden cost of presenteeism from reduced productivity for employees with mental ill-health at circa $9.9 Billion. Presenteeism is essentially people being at work but not being productive for a range of reasons. Tired, moody, lack of motivation, fear of taking days off etc etc. The ABS reported that in 2013-2014, workers with severe depression take 20 times more sick days per month than other workers. The cost of such lost productivity affects organisations’ bottom lines and is a heavy burden for employers and the Australian economy.
And according to SafeWork Australia, the Australian Government’s agency for improving work health and safety, over 7000 Australians are compensated for work-related psychological claims per year, equating to $543 million paid in workers compensation. Workplace mental health is in crisis.
Wherever you look, these statistics are shattering the illusion that workplace safety is only about physical safety. Workplace mental health is being legislated for with new ISO 45003 regulation that puts psychological health and safety at work at the same level of importance as physical health and safety. If you have time (especially if you are Director or Officer of your organisation) please read the article below. ISO 45003:2021 – Psychological health and safety at work
Workplace Mental Health Training
There are many benefits to having effective workplace mental health training in place. Most importantly, the normalising of mental health discussions has the benefit of reducing the stigma associated with mental health. Stigma makes people hesitant to seek help. People are often embarrassed to bring up the issues that are causing them distress.
Often people just don’t know how to ask the question R U OK? Some people fear being labelled as weak if they bring up their issues. They feel that they should get on with it not releasing that what they are feeling is probably a common issue across the company.
As we know talking about things always helps to show that what people re going through is normal and that they’re not alone.
Apart from the obvious emotional benefits that people will experience workplace mental health training shows that the business cares about them as individuals. There are clearly commercial benefits to the business of workplace mental health training. Productivity and profitability improve and off course the costs of claims is reduced.
Claims for mental injury also have far greater residual impact than physical claims (all other claims) in terms of cost to the organisation. Over the five calendar years between 2010-11 and 2014-15, the average compensation payment per claim for mental injury was $24,500, compared to $9,000 for all other claims, while the average time off work was 15.3 weeks compared to 5.5 weeks for all claims. Through the successful implementation of an effective action to create a mentally healthy workplace, organisations, on average, can expect a positive return on investment (ROI) of 2.3. That is, for every dollar spent on successfully implementing an appropriate action, there is on average $2.30 in benefits to be gained by the organisation. So effective workplace mental health training is win win.
Workplace mental health eLearning
There are a few ways to providing mental health training to employees. The most obvious is on the job, face to face training which has been the general approach for years. Face to face training is generally preferred but it comes at a cost. Taking time out, hiring speakers and the opportunity costs of people away from their work all adds up.
But if done well it is clearly a good thing. One of the benefits of our last three years of trauma however has been the emergence of the hybrid work set up and the acceptance of virtual meetings and in turn training. Workplace mental health eLearning courses are an ideal way to address the need for workplace mental health training.
WeCARE365 is an award winning workplace mental health eLearning program that is ideal.
Speak to us about your online training needs.
The heart of WeCARE365’s approach is providing a blending learning experience that’s simple, accessible and practical. We teach skills and behaviours that are highly applicable and easy to implement at work.