Managing Mental Health

Managing Mental Health

Xact is part of the ACT Government’s Healthier Work initiative, which aims to support employers to develop health and wellbeing initiatives within their workplace. Xact holds fortnightly gym sessions and weekly yoga for employees to get active. Xact also has a stocked pantry, with healthy food including fruit and other healthy snacks. This month, however, Xact has focused on another area of health: mental health.

With R U OK Day on 13 September and World Mental Health Day on 10 October, this month’s staff Chat session focused on mental health in the workplace. Peter Chamberlain, of The Chamberlain Foundation, came to speak to us over lunch to share his experiences and advice for identifying issues early and managing mental health.

The Chamberlain Foundation was established in 2015 to support organisations providing services to people suffering with mental illness. The Foundation works to improve the lives of people that are experiencing trauma, loss, disadvantage or mental health issues.

Mentally healthy work environments often have the following in common:

  • Positive workplace culture;
  • Stress and other risks to mental health are managed;
  • People with mental health conditions are supported; and
  • Zero-tolerance approach to discrimination.

There are always factors in the workplace which can impact mental health. If businesses are aware of these, the causes may well be easy to rectify. These factors include:

  • Workplace stresses including demanding roles and lack of resources;
  • Lack of support from colleagues and managers;
  • Lack of recognition for performance: and
  • Lack of rewarding work.

Creating a healthy work environment can be achieved by introducing small initiatives, including:

  • Business leaders to commit to mental health, including providing training and education in mental health;
  • Focus on the physical work environment: natural light, plants, social meeting places;
  • Healthy food; and
  • Flexible working arrangements.

Mentally healthy employees are more productive, engaged and positive, which benefits the business’ bottom line. It’s been proven that mentally healthy employees create a positive social impact by improving the quality of life for employees and their families.

For strategies to manage risks to mental health as well as tips for businesses and employees, visit Heads Up.

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