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Mental Illness within the Workplace

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by Rachel Fisher

about 1 year ago

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With over 3 million Australian’s living with depression or anxiety and 1 in 5 Australian’s living with serious mental illnesses, we as employers and recruitment consultants must acknowledge mental health illnesses as genuine medical conditions and to equip ourselves on how to manage employees who suffer from mental illness. 

About 3 weeks ago my manager asked, Rachel would you like to attend a course with me on Friday the 24th of June which is focused on Mental Health within the workplace? My answer: definitely! Reason being, as a consultant I’ve come across some wildly interesting reasons as to why my temp can’t attend work or why they aren’t enjoying the role they originally had hoped would be their dream role. 

Speaker Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, a Melbourne GP who is the Chair of Beyond Blue, the National Doctors’ Mental Health Program, covered topics on considering how mental health issues appear in our businesses, how we should (and should not) respond, how we can manage the interaction with staff performance and how we can add value to our clients who are increasingly impacted by mental health illness. Overall there doesn’t appear to be one solution for handling mental illness within the workforce, unlike simple situations like head colds or bronchitis.  However it is very clear that candidates are feeling happy and engaged in their job, productivity, results and the office culture benefits! 

To achieve happy, engaged and productive employees,  we must educate employees / candidates on what avenues they have for help, we should make more time to assess the appropriateness of the candidate’s personality traits in relation to the stress levels of the position; and by consulting experts or organisations who are educated on dealing with mental illness, we can put into place simple measures to ensure we are able to appropriately handle mental health issues. If you’re concerned about a colleague or employee, ask them how you can help. The first step for a person with symptoms of a mental illness is to see a doctor or healthcare professional. If you’re concerned that someone is at immediate risk of suicide or self-harm, dial triple zero (000).

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