Workplace managers are being urged to look for mental health warning signs and start active conversations with their workers, as a part of national R U OK? Day on September 13.
Now in its 10th year, R U OK? Day encourages people to reach out and start conversations with friends, family members, or colleagues who they think might be going though a hard time. And as we spend nearly a third of our waking life at work, organisers are reminding people that the workplace can have a major impact on someone’s wellbeing.
“A place where asking the question ‘Are you ok?’ can really work is in the workplace. As employers or staff, we can all create a culture where people feel confident asking and answering this simple yet important question.”
“Besides our legal responsibility of providing a safe and healthy workplace, these conversations can make a real difference to staff going through a tough time.”
As a part of this initiative, the charity has released practical guidance for the workplace that not only helps workers ask their colleagues “Are you OK?”, but also helps them respond if the answer is “No”.
The resource was developed with the input and oversight from the Centre for Corporate Health, who are recognised as leading experts in building resilient workplaces.
It educates managers in the best way to approach employees, provides specific examples of the most effective questions and answers, and also provides guidance on when you should stop and offer professional help.
Mental Health in Australia
Earlier this year R U OK? conducted a survey that revealed:
• 51% of us were asked by someone if we were OK when we really needed it
• More than half of Australians (57%) in the last 12 months, wanted someone to ask them if they were ok
• While 52% of us thought about asking someone if they were ok, at least once, but didn’t
According to the ABS, 45 per cent of Australian adults will experience a mental health condition at some point in their life, and 20 per cent will experience one in the next year. And many of these are either caused, or made worse, by the workplace. Statistics from Safe Work Australia cite work-related stress, workplace harassment, and workplace violence as the three main drivers of mental disorders within Australia.