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Mental Health in the Workplace

It’s Mental Health Week here in the lovely sunny state of Queensland. I’ll be honest with you – I struggled to bring myself to talk about this subject. Why? I’m not sure.

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It could be that I didn’t want to come across as an expert and risk insulting others. In some ways I do know what this is about, having lived with family members, friends and workmates going through mental health struggles – I know this is REAL!

My hesitation though is a great example of how it is tough talking about it but it is something we MUST force ourselves to do and get comfortable with. It’s a touchy thing to talk about, particularly I think publicly like this.

It's certainly something I can talk to my family and friends about, but when you put it out there in the big wide world, it's a tough one isn't it? So, I've put myself out there. I've made myself do it and I'm here.

The context that I'd like to share with you all is mental health in the workplace.

I'm fortunate enough to go to many different workplaces and I've come across some great initiatives along the way with what workplaces have put in place to look after their team’s mental health, particularly this year in 2020, because it's been a tough one hasn’t it? It’s been tough with workers moving to working remotely and some of my clients are still in lockdown as well.

I've seen some great initiatives. I've seen some mad crazy stress as well on managers and leaders of organizations that have really been focused on keeping their people mentally healthy and safe. It's a huge strain and incredibly challenging.

I'm going to share with you a few of the initiatives I've come across from different organizations to see whether it fits in with what you have in place, or it might give you an idea to help your own team out.

Mental Health Initiatives

Mental Health Days

Once a month each team member has a day off to focus on them. It’s called a mental health day so they can stop and take their own time to refresh.

Team Leader check-ins

Team leader ‘checks in’ with each of their team members on a one-on-one basis. This check-in isn’t about work, it’s solely about gauging how their team is coping and whether there is anything that can be put in place to support them.

Team Zoom calls

This is about the entire company coming onto a zoom call together. This particular company has about 16 workers and they all show up once a week together with their videos on no matter what they look like. It is a requirement to have your video on as you can tell so much by seeing peoples faces, expressions and body language, can’t you? Of course, they still have other zoom meetings during the week with the smaller groups, but this is the entire team.

Health and Safety Rep check-ins

Similar to the team leader check-ins but initiated from a different person. This is a great option as it may be more comfortable for someone to open up to someone other than their team leader.

Quiz nights

This is something done outside of work and more on a social basis all still by Zoom of course. On a Friday night at the end of the week, this company actually hold quiz nights that are fun competitions between two different departments. It adds that fun element and gives them that contact with the team members that they would normally see in the office. It brings some fun back, particularly for those that are still in lockdown as well.

One-on-one coaching sessions

This is about having an external resource for your workers to reach out to professionals for regular check-ins. Team members can contact them and have one-on-one coaching sessions. Sometimes it feels safer to talk to someone outside of the organization.

As I said before, this is something that we do all need to get comfortable talking about. Whether it’s with family, friends or your work mates.

Get comfortable with the uncomfortable to lend a hand to a mate.


Note – this is an excerpt from the Auditor Training Online Facebook Live, view the video here.