I have spent many years working in mental health and one of many things that stand out for me is the importance the workplace has in mental health and wellbeing. Over the last decade we have made considerable progress in understanding how the workplace can build personal resilience, promote and encourage wellbeing and effectively support employees who are going through hard times.
During my early years with WayAhead, one of the first help line calls I took was from an employer of a small building company who daily contracted casual labourers to work on his building sites. He phoned the help line because one of his casuals was obviously unwell (showing psychotic symptoms) and he wanted to help him but didn’t know what to do. He said the casual didn’t speak English, was a good worker and needed some help. He didn’t think he had any family in Australia who could help him. At that time, it was the first call from an employer I had received. Sadly, I was surprised any employer in a blue-collar industry would care enough to phone, but it also touched my heart and reminded me that people do care, people want to help and we can be a very compassionate community. I have never forgotten that call.
Over the last decade it is not unusual to hear from employers who want to help their staff when they need help. They want to do their best to provide a supportive and happy workplace and ensure they foster their employee’s wellbeing. Our WayAhead Workplaces program has become a vehicle for demonstrating good practice and showcases workplaces that take employee wellbeing very seriously. It is inspiring to hear what is happening in workplaces across Australia
I certainly don’t want to imply that all workplaces take the wellbeing of their employees seriously. We should celebrate the workplace successes and congratulate those who are doing the right thing while at the same time, point out to those who could do better, that by seriously adopting a workplace wellbeing policy there will be wins for all. Compassion and caring is addictive and the workplace is the perfect place to spread it around.
Enjoy reading the articles in this edition and if you are in a workplace that cares for your mental health and wellbeing, celebrate and spread the word.