Today, on September 14th, we celebrate RU OK? Day, a day dedicated to reminding us of the importance of checking in on one another’s mental well-being. It’s a day when we encourage open conversations about mental health, reminding everyone that it’s okay not to be okay.
But the importance of mental health extends far beyond just one day of the year. It should be an integral part of our everyday lives, especially in one’s workplace culture. In this blog, we will explore the significance of developing a positive mental health culture in your organization and how it can lead to higher staff retention, increased productivity and much more.
Rather than asking “RU OK?” just today, we should strive to build this into our daily conversations with friends, family and co-workers.
The Hidden Struggles
In today’s fast-paced and often stressful world, many of us are silently grappling with mental health challenges. These struggles don’t discriminate based on age, gender, or profession. They can affect anyone.
According to the 2020 report from the Productivity Commission Inquiry, mental health conditions like depression and anxiety impose a staggering cost of over $39 billion on Australian businesses each year. This cost encompasses lost productivity, incapacity, and absenteeism, painting a vivid picture of the economic impact of mental health challenges in the workplace. The World Health Organization (WHO), states depression and anxiety cost the global economy over $1 trillion each year in lost productivity. The toll on individuals suffering is immeasurable.
Mental Health First Aid Training
One way to combat this issue is by investing in mental health first aid training for your employees. Just as we are trained to provide physical first aid, we should also be equipped to offer support to those facing mental health difficulties. Mental health first aid training helps employees recognize the signs of mental distress, provides tools to initiate conversations, and guides them on where to direct their colleagues for professional help. It’s a crucial step towards breaking the stigma surrounding mental health.
We are proud partners with Blue Balloon Coaching, who run various Mental Health First Aid Courses. Contact them to discuss how they can support your team.
The Benefits of a Positive Mental Health Culture
Developing a positive mental health culture in your organization isn’t just a feel-good initiative; it’s a strategic decision with tangible benefits. Here’s why it matters:
- Higher Staff Retention: Employees who feel supported and valued by their organization are more likely to stay. A positive mental health culture communicates that your company cares about its people. This can significantly reduce turnover rates, saving your organization both time and money.
- Increased Productivity: When employees are mentally well, they are more engaged and focused. They can perform their tasks more efficiently and creatively. A culture that prioritizes mental health boosts overall productivity.
- Better Collaboration: Open conversations about mental health create an atmosphere of trust and empathy. When people feel safe discussing their challenges, they are more likely to collaborate effectively, leading to better teamwork and problem-solving.
- Enhanced Reputation: Companies that prioritize mental health not only attract top talent but also enjoy a positive reputation in the market. Customers and partners want to associate with organizations that care about their employees’ well-being.
- Legal and Ethical Responsibility: Many countries are recognizing mental health as a workplace priority. Failing to address mental health concerns can lead to legal issues. A positive mental health culture ensures your organization meets its legal and ethical responsibilities.
- Creativity in Safety: When you create a culture around safety and supportive mental health, people are more willing to create and take risks. They don’t fear sabotage and ridicule. They are more likely think outside the box and create new opportunities for the company
Creating a Positive Mental Health Culture
To build a culture that supports mental health, start by:
- Raising Awareness: Promote mental health education and awareness initiatives, like RU OK? Day, throughout the year.
- Offering Resources: Provide access to mental health resources and encourage employees to utilize them.
- Training: Invest in mental health first aid training to equip your employees with the necessary skills.
- Leadership Commitment: Ensure that leadership actively supports and promotes mental health initiatives.
- Regular Check-Ins: Encourage open conversations about mental health and promote regular check-ins between employees and managers.
- Tea & Talks: A simple initiative that managers and leaders can take. A simple coffee or tea catch up with team members once a month just to see how they are doing.
A positive mental health culture is not an option; it’s a necessity. It’s a win-win for both employees and organizations, leading to higher staff retention, increased productivity, and a healthier workplace environment. As we celebrate RU OK? Day today, let’s remember that mental health is a year-round concern.
Let’s continue to ask, “RU OK?” not just today, but every day, and let’s work together to build a culture where the answer is always, “Yes, I am, and so are you.”
Contact our team to learn more about our Mental Health Culture Workshops and let’s take the first step together in building a supportive culture.
Are you struggling? Do you need to speak with someone?
See the full Mental health services and support contact list
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
Lifeline 13 11 14
It’s ok to not be ok.