The Best Tips from the 2017 Mental Health in the Australian Workplace Conference and Masterclass.

The Best Tips from the 2017 Mental Health in the Australian Workplace Conference and Masterclass.

The following is a summary of the best practical ideas that were outlined at The 2017 Mental Health in the Australian Workplace Conference and Masterclass, held on 1st & 2nd June in Melbourne.  These points will provide you and your leaders with guidance on how to take a more effective, strategic approach to mental health and wellbeing in your organisation.

Hallmarks of a Strategic Approach 

Be outcome driven.  More and more organisations are now realising that mental health and wellbeing is an outcome rather than a program with a menu of items.

Outcomes require measures.  Determine what your measures of success will be and what a reasonable timeframe would be to achieve that. For example, improvements in employee engagement and wellbeing survey results; and decreases in turnover, claims and sick leave over an 18-24 month time period.   

Target the whole organisation.  Most wellbeing programs reach only 5-10% of the organisation.  To earn recognition as a truly ‘mentally healthy organisation’ you must be able to reach the majority of your workforce and lift the wellbeing of that majority up a notch or two across the mental health spectrum.  

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Making Changes: the 2016 Mental Health in the Australian Workplace Conference

Making Changes: the 2016 Mental Health in the Australian Workplace Conference
By Leah Burgess

A mentally healthy workplace is viable and beneficial for all - that’s the message received loud and clear over two days at the 2016 Mental Health in the Australian Workplace Conference.

Conference organisers The Australian School of Applied Management proudly partnered with beyondblue and Heads Up for the 2016 event, with assistance from FBG. Organisational psychologist and director of FBG Simon Brown-Greaves facilitated the two days. 

With a focus on the lived experience as a model for understanding mental health, this year’s conference was very much about identifying the steps organisations need to take to create a positive workplace culture. Other key themes included building resilience, mindfulness, driving change and identifying risk factors.

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Assessment and Control of Vicarious Trauma within Court Services Victoria

Assessment and Control of Vicarious Trauma within Court Services Victoria
By Diya Dey and Chris Morgan

Court Services Victoria (CSV) was created in 2014 with the goal of enhancing the independence of the judiciary from government. With over 1600 employees in more than 60 locations across Victoria, the prime function of CSV is to support the performance and efficient functioning of the judicial and administrative courts.

The courts increasingly view the provision of high quality services as central in supporting members of the community to have their day in court. As part of their role, Court staff are routinely exposed to traumatic imagery, case materials, testimony and interactions with distressed members of the public. Over time, exposure to these issues can take a toll on their wellbeing, resulting in vicarious trauma.

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Helping beyondblue develop the good practice framework for the mental health and wellbeing of first responders

Helping beyondblue develop the good practice framework for the mental health and wellbeing of first responders
By Paul Clifford, Chris Morgan & Rhianna Hobbs

The mental health and wellbeing of first responder professionals in police, ambulance, fire and SES services is vital for the effective performance of their role in responding to the community.  As such it is critical that organisations step in and provide wellbeing support to first responders and help build their resilience capability.

The good practice framework, commissioned by beyondblue, outlines practical actions that organisations can implement to help support first responders’ mental health and wellbeing.   It has been collaboratively developed by drawing on the experiences of first responder agencies across Australia, through a process led by FBG. It is the next step in supporting first responder organisations to destigmatise mental health issues and take an open, integrated and holistic approach to planning and implementing health and wellbeing measures in the workplace.  Whilst designed for first responder organisations, the framework has much applicability for informing any organisation’s wellbeing approach.   

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Peer Support – harnessing employee power to drive wellbeing

Peer Support – harnessing employee power to drive wellbeing
By Paul Clifford and Chris Morgan

Wellbeing continues to feature prominently in organisational conversation as the risk and rate of psychological injury weighs increasingly heavy on many organisations. In search of solutions, organisations have typically looked externally for support in managing mental health and wellbeing. This has been a function of the focus on the 'illness' end of the mental health and wellbeing continuum and the corresponding need to engage psychologists and social workers with the requisite skills, qualifications and expertise not found within organisations. With the spotlight being shone on the ‘healthy’ end of the mental health and wellbeing continuum over the past decade or so, the expert mental health specialist has become just one of the wellbeing solutions open to organisations.  Additional avenues of support have become tenable.  In many cases organisations are turning to their most important and obvious internal resource - their own employees - to be an additional source of support.  This is often formalised as a Peer Support Program.

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