Developing a mental health strategy for your workplace






Hi everyone. Thank you for participating in today's webinar and taking the time to learn more about workplace mental health. My name is Rachel Komen and I'm a project manager for the workplace team at Beyond Blue. This webinar is the second in a series that we've developed as part of the Heads Up initiative. I appreciate that many of you will be aware of Beyond Blue, but I just wanted to provide a bit of background information on Beyond Blue and Heads Up to those of you who may not.



We're an independent, not for profit organisation working to increase the awareness and understanding of anxiety, depression and suicide in Australia, and to reduce the associated stigma. Beyond Blue have a number of programme areas and as mentioned, the area I represent today is the workplace programme, which aims to promote more mentally healthy workplaces Australia-wide. Beyond Blue has been working in this area since 2004, developing a number of programmes and resources in that time.



In 2013, the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance was formed and for the first time, an alliance of the government sector, the mental health sector, and most importantly, the business sector came together, recognising the benefits to all Australians of mentally healthy workplaces. The role of the business sector in the alliance is really significant. Workplace mental health is no longer seen as a ‘nice to have’, but rather a necessity from an economic and productivity perspective.



Developed by the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance and Beyond Blue, Heads Up calls on business leaders to make a commitment and start taking action in their workplaces. It also encourages everyone in the workplace to play their part in creating a mentally healthy working environment, to take care of their own mental health and to look out for their colleagues.



Today we're going to help with this by talking about developing mental health strategies for your workplace.


Just to review the agenda for today's webinar before we dive in. I'm going to briefly run through the importance of a mentally healthy workplace. Now this topic was covered in webinar one, but it's important to reiterate a few of the key messages. I’ll talk about the importance of developing a mental health strategy for your workplace and run through the critical success factors and four key steps involved in developing and implementing a successful strategy.



I'll also run through how the Heads Up website can help you in developing your strategy and the initiatives that sit within it. Now there's a lot of information that we'll go through on item three and four particularly, but you can find all of this information on the Heads Up website, so today just sit back and listen. At the end of the webinar, my colleague, Workplace Engagement Manager Michael O'Hanlon and I, will answer any questions you have, so please do post any questions you have throughout the webinar. We'll also be running a few polling questions throughout, so keep an eye out for these and we'd really appreciate if you could participate in them.



So, moving on into the importance of a mentally healthy workplace. As mentioned, this topic was covered in webinar one, which is available on the Heads Up website under the Training and Resources tab and then Webinars. If you haven't already watched this webinar, I would strongly encourage you to check it out after today's presentation, as it goes through this topic a lot more extensively than I will and it covers a lot of great information that might help you in your first step in developing a mental health strategy, but more about this later.



Firstly, just to be clear, when I'm talking about mental health today, it's not about just about people with conditions like anxiety and depression. On the slide, you can see the World Health Organization's definition and when we refer to mental health, it's about cognitively, emotionally and socially healthy. It's the way we think, feel and develop relationships. So, not merely the absence of a mental health condition.



And this refers to everyone, as does workplace mental health apply to everyone in the workforce.


Mental health should be seen as a continuum and something that can change even daily. Positive and healthy functioning sits at one end and severe symptoms or conditions that impact on everyday life and activities sits at the other. At the green end, people tend to show resilience and high levels of well-being. This doesn't mean that they never experience any challenges to their mental health, but rather they draw on a range of coping mechanisms and supports to effectively manage any difficulties that come along.



At that red end, well-being and resilience levels are low and day to day life is affected. It's really important to remember that mental health is complex and the fact that somebody is not experiencing a mental health condition doesn't necessarily mean their mental health is flourishing. Likewise, it's possible to be diagnosed with a mental health condition while feeling well in many aspects of your life. So, people with mental health condition won't necessarily be sitting at the red end of the continuum.



Everyone's mental health varies during their life and from a workplace perspective, it's not enough to wait until people are in the orange or the red and then act. You want to create an environment where as many staff as possible are in the green, so that they are thriving, productive and enjoying being at work, being fully engaged. You want an environment where as people move into the yellow and the orange, they know that it's okay to put their hand up and ask for help.



So, how does this apply to workplaces? Well, this slide gives you some idea of why a mentally healthy workplace is important and all of the positive reasons for working on developing one. It's about ensuring your workforce are in the green as much as possible and those that are struggling are supported before things get worse. The reasons for this aren't just for moral and ethical reasons, though they are clearly very good reasons, but it's also good for business all around.



Mentally healthy workplaces increase productivity. This is generally driven by reduced rates in absenteeism and presenteeism and a reduced prevalence of compensation claims. Research has found that organisations, on average, can expect a positive return of investment of $2.30 for every one dollar invested in effective mental health initiatives. This shows that developing and implementing an effective mental health strategy for your workplace is smart business sense. We also know that taking a proactive approach to mental health helps build your reputation as an employer of choice and in turn provides a competitive advantage over other employers.



Positive employees who respect their managers are generally more engaged and productive. More engaged employees are generally more willing to speak positively about their organisation and culture, and they'll attract like-minded peers. Whilst a mentally healthy workplace is important in attracting and retaining staff today, it will become even more important in the future as younger workers move through the workforce.


Having happier, healthier and more productive employees is not only good for business, it's clearly good for your staff and also for their family and their community.


If staff are travelling in the green, they have more to give to the people around them, and they can be their best selves. To those of you who would like some further details around the why it matters, please refer to the webinar on the Heads Up website.



So, you can see the evidence is strong why mentally healthy workplaces are important, but what do they look like? Now, the places we work in come in all shapes and sizes, so a one size fits all approach simply won't be effective. Each workplace has different risks, different stresses and different levels of resources to help. Whilst there are a lot of differences, we know that mentally healthy working environments do generally have a few things in common.



Number one, they have a positive workplace culture. So, put simply, they are places where people feel good about coming to work and everyone is encouraged and supported. Number two, stress and other risk factors to mental health are managed. So stress, heavy workloads, unrealistic deadlines, poor communication and uncertainty, these and other factors can all contribute to anxiety and depression or push people towards the red and it's up to managers and leaders to keep them in check.



Number three, people with mental health conditions are supported regardless of the cause. Helping employees stay at or return to work has clear benefits for both the individual and the organisation. Four, a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination. As well as being legal requirement, protecting employees form discrimination encourages a diverse workforce and ensures that everyone gets a fair go. So, how do we get all this set up in your workplace?



The best way to do it is to develop a mental health strategy for your workplace. Now, the reasons developing a strategy is so important is that it helps ensure the activities and initiatives you set up are effective, efficient, and sustainable. It better ensures that the key risks are identified and effectively managed. That the outcomes work for all rather than just a few and the precious resources you commit are efficiently used. So people's time is not wasted and any money invested gives you a positive return.



Developing a strategy will give you a clear understanding of how much you are already doing, what else needs to be done and what the best solution is to get you there. It can help ensure that you cover all the bases and that your approach is effective in supporting the people who need it, protecting others against injury and promoting the benefits of good health, so staff can get on board and be part of the solution.



Doing this is what is called ‘taking an integrated approach’ and it's the most effective way of developing a mental health strategy for your workplace. An integrated approach to mental health in the workplace considers the three elements I just mentioned: promotion, protection and support. The term "integrated approach" can have a number of different meanings when referring to staff well-being, but here the term defines actions that contribute to creating a mentally healthy workplace. These actions focus on promoting well-being, protecting the mental health of staff and supporting staff with a mental health condition. Again, regardless of the cause.



Bringing it back to the continuum model for a moment, promoting healthy initiatives and positive mental health helps people stay in the green. Protection against risks helps those who sit in or are moving towards the orange and ensuring staff sitting in the red have the support they need will help them move back to the green. An effective workplace mental health strategy should cover all three of the elements of the integrated approach.



Now you can see that there's also seven points, or goals as we refer to them, within the promotion, protection and support circles. I'll talk more about those a little but more when we look at the four key steps. Right now, we're going to be putting up poll question one, so please answer and it would be great to see your participation.



Now, we've discussed why it's important to develop a mental health strategy for your workplace. Now, we come to the core topic of this webinar, which is how to develop it.

When developing a strategy for a healthy workplace, there are three critical success factors that you need to adhere to in order to ensure your strategy's success. The three critical factors are: one, commitment from senior organisational leaders and business owners, two, employee participation, and three, ongoing communication. It's important to think about how your workplace can support all three of these factors at the beginning of the process.



So, looking at leadership commitment, mental health is a leadership and issue and change must start at the top. Business owners and organisational leaders play a critical role in driving policies and practises that promote mental health in the workplace. They have the capacity to positively influence workplace culture, management practise and the experience of employees. A key factor for success in developing a mental health strategy for your workplace is ensuring that organisational leaders and business owners practice what they preach and lead by example.



Some of the key things your organisational leaders can do to show their commitment include: role model day to day behaviours and actions, so show they're really walking the walk. Ensure that all senior leaders have a shared commitment and belief in the goal. This really shows all staff that they're serious about creating a more mentally healthy workplace. Commit human, financial and other resources. Resources are needed for your strategy to work, and while these don't necessarily need to be extensive in time or money, initiatives are likely to be doomed from the start if they are expected to be driven by somebody with an already full work load.



Remember the average ROI is $2.30 for every one dollar spent. This should help leaders understand that it really is an investment they are making and there are many things that workplaces can do that don't cost more than a bit of staff's time, but to do this, staff have to be given time to do the work.



Now, let's look at the importance of employee participation. The best strategies for creating a healthy workplace are based on shared commitment between employers and employees. Employees must be engaged in every step form planning through to implementation and review. They have first-hand experience of mental health risks and productive factors in the workplace, so they're a great source of ideas and they'll often have a different experience of how things are going compared to what management sees, so it's really important to get their perspective.



They'll also be able to help prioritise what to tackle first and what actions will have the biggest impact. The best change initiatives are informed and underpinned by the needs of employees and without this, they're unlikely to succeed. To emphasise why their engagement is so important, let's look at the results of a 2014 research study by TNS into the state of mental health in Australia. Overall, the results showed that there's a big disconnect between leaders and employees beliefs about mental health in the workplace, but let's just consider the last two points on this slide.



When looking at beliefs about mental health in the workplace, 71% of leaders surveyed said that in their workplace leaders are committed to promoting mental health of staff, but only 37% of staff actually agreed to this. 57% of leaders said that employees have import into the planning, implementation and review of mental health programmes in their workplace, but only twenty five percent of employees agreed. So, the findings show that leaders are just not really in touch or in the least, highlights that you just can't assume. Get input from the front line and all levels of your organisation.



Some ways to ensure employee participation include identifying champions and supporters early. So, think about who are the key influencers of the group in my organisation? Who would have the passion and commitment to champion mental health? Keep them engaged throughout the process to help guide the strategy and communicate it across the organisation. You also want to encourage all staff to have a voice, to provide safe and open communication forums where they can express their opinion and start thinking about new ideas.



You want to provide open access to all information and the progress that being made in developing and implementing your strategy. Seek input and feedback at every phase. This will help ensure that you are really on the right track. Also, do what you say you're going to do. This shows employees that you are serious about what you are going to do and that change will happen across the workplace. If nothing is done with the staff survey results that everyone participated in last year, why would they want to give their time to do it again this year? Or if something is done, but they're not told about it, they still won't feel it's worth their time to do it again.



The last critical success factor is closely aligned with employee participation, it's about ongoing communication. It's important to provide regular, ongoing communication to ensure that all staff knows what's going on and it's important that they have a sense of ownership around changes and decisions being made. It also informs them of all that is being done and what's available for them, and this is really crucial to your strategy's success.



The TNS research I referred to also showed that 81% of organisational leaders indicate their workplace has one or more policies, procedures or practises to support mental health, but 35% of employees didn't know these resources existed or didn't have access to them. So, you can spend some time and money implementing things like new policies or procedures with the goal to make things better for staff, but if they don't know about them, it's not going to help.



As well as communicating about your strategy and initiatives, you want managers and staff to speak openly about why good mental health is important to encourage open discussion around emotions and mental health concerns to reduce the stigma. Sharing case studies and personal stories can be a really effective way to do this and you can also find a communication pack on the Heads Up website to help. More about that later.



So, they are the three critical success factors. You need to consider them across every step of your strategy. Right now, we're going to look at what those four steps are.


So, the four steps in developing a mental health strategy…we recommend that you really work through them all to make sure that your strategy initiatives are sustainable and effective. The steps are: gain leadership support, analyse your situation or put simply, identify your needs, develop your plan and monitor, review and improve.



As I mentioned earlier, each organisation is different, so it's really not a plug in and play approach. It's important to note there is no one right way. These steps are a guide and you may jump around the steps. You may revisit the steps and that's normal. Why? Because your business is dynamic and constantly changing, so should your ongoing management of mental health and well-being. Let’s start by looking at step one, gain leadership support.



We've looked at the importance of leadership commitment as a critical success factor, and having leaders on board is so important, gaining their support is also considered the first step in developing your strategy. Some things you can do to gain leadership include: build your business case. Helping leaders understand why it matters is a key step in getting their support. Identify champions and supports from all levels of the business. You want leaders and managers to advocate for change and ensure that it remains a priority.



Establish governance. Determine how decisions will be made and who will be responsible for implementing what and who will be the executive sponsor. Commit human, financial and other resources to ensure the strategy is successful and efficient.


Once you have that established or you have it in motion, identify what your workplace needs by analysing your situation. It's important to get a good understanding of where you are and what you're already doing and what you can improve on. This can mean reviewing relevant information and data that you already have, like human resources information. So, the rates of absenteeism. Uptake of employee benefits. Employee Assistance Program data or workers compensation claims, for example.



Or you might review what policies, procedures, supports and/or practices are already in place. Ensure that the existing workplace programmes and supports in place are considered in terms of their current reach and effectiveness. Are they being utilised? Are staff aware of them? You can also look at minutes from staff meetings, health and safety committee meetings and organisational audits. Analysing your situation also means getting information from staff to see if what you are doing is working or not and what's missing or what could be done better.



It's a valuable way of gaining insight into your staff and organisational needs. This feedback might come from individual conversations, suggestions given by staff members or through staff surveys. Getting all of this information up front will not only help direct you to what's really needed and what initiatives will have the biggest impact, but it also works as baseline data so you can use the same measures at set intervals to track progress.



So, for instance, you might want to look at this data once a year or after implementing a new initiative. If you don't have a staff survey, there are a number of tools available that can help you and that you can access quite easily. The method chosen will depend on the workplace size, who is completing the survey, access to technology and things like that. The tool may be utilising the questions asked in the Heads Up action plan to develop a survey to distribute to employees or another, more in-depth survey. I'll talk about where you can find these and more when we look at the Heads Up website later on.



And then we get to step three, create a plan. To develop you plan, it's helpful to set goals by identifying your priorities and developing a realistic plan. Remember, like all steps in the process, this should be done in collaboration with staff and other key focus groups. To help you identify your priorities in creating a mentally healthy workplace, rank the issues you've identified in step two by importance to including mental health and well-being. Rank them by the level of organisational motivation to change them. Consider, what does staff report as being the biggest issues and what's practical for your workplace to focus on?



Then, you want to consult with your working group and your champions or your steering committee to understand if their level of need and perceived importance of these issues differs to what you've identified. Then prioritise your issues. Choose the top five and turn them into goal statements. Remember, a goal needs to be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. And also identify what resources and/or expertise are needed to assist you to reach those goals.




These are the seven goals in the circles on the slide that I pointed out before, and some of these you may have already identified in the previous step of the process. These goals will help ensure that you are covering the three key areas to creating a mentally healthy workplace. Now, we don't have time to delve into the seven goals in this webinar, but the next webinar in the series, we'll look at this in more detail, including what the goals are, what actions you can do to reach them and what resources are available to help.



You can also find this information on the Heads Up website, something I will chat about soon.


After identifying your priority areas, determine which of the seven goals will best support these, then, with your organisational leaders and staff, decide what actions will assist your organisation achieve those goals. Success is most likely if you can integrate new actions into existing day to day systems, structures and practices within your workplace. If you don't have the resources to undertake multiple actions, you can start by choosing the actions that will have the greatest positive impact.



It's not practical to do it all at once, so consider your priorities and start where you can. As a colleague of mine says, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”.


So, now looking at goal four, it's important to monitor, review and improve you progress, so you can see how you're tracking and measure the effectiveness of your initiatives. Plan your review process before you start implementing any actions. So, think about the baseline measures you used under step two to analyse the situation and if there are any other measures you could use. It's also important to determine what success looks like as well as how you'll measure it and what you'll need to sustain it.



Some examples are this are, do you want more positive feedback ratings on your staff survey around the mental health of your workplace or are you looking for reduced staff absenteeism within a twelve month period? Evaluation should occur throughout the program or project life cycle, not just at the end. Before and during developing your plan, your work under step two, analyse your situation, will help you understand your workplaces needs and the gaps in current activities, so this is your formative evaluation.



During the implementation of your strategy and initiatives, you should undertake what is called a ‘process evaluation’ to understand what is working about your activities and what could be improved. For this kind of evaluation, it's useful to take interviews or focus groups and use open ended questions in feedback questionnaires to get understanding into how staff, management and other stakeholders think that it's going. During and after the implementation of the initiatives, you should undertake an outcome and impact evaluation to understand whether the initiative is producing the intended outcomes.



For this, you need to use the baseline measures you devised as part of step two, your formative evaluation and any others you've identified as being good sources of data. It's good to recognise that some measures of success won't show any significant change for a long period of time. So, if you're aiming to reduce the numbers of absenteeism, generally this will have to be looked at a year or more after implementing actions to get a really accurate idea if they have reduced because of those actions.



Some ways you can undertake reviews can be seen on this slide. You need to establish some well-defined goals and objectives at the start. This will enable you to develop clear descriptions of the intended outcomes and impacts you desire as well as the activities and outputs that will get you there. This will tell you want you need to measure to determine your strategy's success.



Measure progress against KPI's and baseline data, so that stuff you put together under step two, and seek feedback from staff on the implementation and effectiveness of any initiatives you have undertaken and of your strategy as a whole. See what they think worked and what could've been done better next time. You can also consider an independent evaluation, if you have the budget for this. This means an external company can undertake the evaluation for you and it can be particularly helpful if you're investing a large amount of money towards initiatives and you want a thorough, high level evaluation or if the staff running the strategies are already stretched for time.



As mentioned you should measure how things are tracking throughout the implementation of your strategy and ongoingly so you can amend and adjust your strategy and actions where required and ensure it is meeting your goals. Always ensure you communicate evaluation results and share lessons learned with employees to build upon engagement, transparency and trust. Giving them the opportunity to provide input and feedback throughout the process will show them the business is genuine in wanting to create a more mentally healthy workplace and that their opinion matters.



If the results aren't initially positive, be open with them about what you've learnt and what you plan to do differently to rectify it.


So, these are the four steps involved in developing a mental health strategy for your workplace. Poll question two is about to be popped up now, so keep an eye out for that. Now, while I ran through those steps in the order they’re presented in, keep in mind that the order may need to change for your needs and that's completely fine. For instance, you might need to undertake some work around step 2, analyse your situation, in order to develop a solid business case for step one, build leadership support.



As mentioned under step four, review, it's also good practise to undertake reviews throughout the process. For instance, you might want a staff survey to help identify your priority areas and it would be smart to monitor how that worked. Did you get the input you wanted? How was the engagement level? Did a large percentage of your staff participate? If the answer to any of these questions is no, consider what improvements could be made. Do you need to reconsider how you ran the survey to ensure better participation in the future? Was the communication to staff clear enough? Did they have enough time or too much time and forgot? Or are you confident with the numbers and the results you obtained?



I know I've run through a lot within these four steps, but all the information can be found on the Heads Up website, and I'm about to show you where.


So, you've heard about the importance of developing a mental health strategy for your workplace and the critical success factors to consider in doing so and the four key steps to undertake. Now, let's talk about how Heads Up can help you in doing all of this.



The Heads Up website is designed to support businesses to create mentally healthy workplaces and to provide resources for individuals. It provides simple, practical and free resources that can be downloaded or ordered direct from the website. It uses case studies, personal stories, videos, tools and e-learning modules to demonstrate and educate and help individuals and organisations to improve the mental health of their workplace.



It provides information resources to support leaders in the development of workplace mental health strategies, to communicate their commitment to mental health, and to assist in creating a positive workplace culture. It has tools to equip managers and supervisors with the confidence to have a conversation with somebody they're concerned about or to support somebody with a mental health condition. And there's information for all employees on how to take care of their own health and the health and safety of the people they work with, and there's information to help them increase their knowledge of mental health conditions.



On the home page of the website, which you can see on this slide, you'll find the entry points for employers, managers, employees and small business owners. So, everyone coming to this site can find information relevant to them based on their role in the workplace. Today, I'll primarily focus on the strategies section, the strategies for healthy workplaces section of the site and this is located under ‘healthy workplaces’.



The strategies for healthy workplaces section on Heads Up has all of the information I gave you today, as well as a lot more. On the main page, which you can see on this slide, you'll find some tips and information about the critical success factors, and links to pages containing information around the four key steps. There are also resources that can help you, including the getting started kit.



The getting started kit contains tools to help you develop an approach that's right for your business. It has booklets and flyers to provide tips and information around creating a mentally healthy workplace, a mental health and well-being policy template that can be tailored to suit your business, and it's a great starting point for anybody who doesn't already have a policy in place.



There's communication templates and resources such as an email to staff template with some suggestions for key messages you might want to include when communicating to staff. There's an email to managers template to communicate with your managers about their roles and what you need from them. There's a real life example as well about how leading market research consultant company TNS communicated with their employees.



There's also speaking nights, so when your team get together, you've got some points that you can share and there's content for your workplace newsletter or intranet or website and a Heads Up email signature you can use so your contacts can see that you're taking your first step. Then there's things like a poster you can put up in your workplace, an introducing Heads Up flyer that can be shared with staff and managers, and a taking care of your mental health in the workplace guide for employees booklet.



Just to remind you, these are all free.


There's also a link on the strategies for healthy workplaces page to the Heads Up action plan tool. Now, this is a simple, interactive, free tool that helps businesses identify their priority areas relating to workplace health. Based on these areas identified, users are then presented with a list of potential actions to assist them getting started. You also have access to a whole range of resources to support you.



This tool can be used as part of developing your overall strategy or can be especially helpful for those who are just starting out or don't have the resources to commit to doing a major strategy.


You can find resources to help with your critical success factors on the strategies for healthy workplaces page as well, like an encouraging leaders to take action brochure and a leadership kit to help with your critical success factor one, gain leadership support. The leadership kit contains brochures and research reports to help build your business case and encourage leaders in your business as well as email templates and the Heads Up email signature that you can use.



The critical success factor three, ongoing communication, there's also a communication pack you can download. This slide shows just a few things in this pack.


On the step one: gain leadership support, page on Heads Up you can find information and resources to assist you with this step, so I really encourage you to have a read of this if it's something that you're struggling with or you want more support around.



The step two: identify your needs, page or analyse your situation as it's referred to in the diagram I used before, it has a lot of great information around how you can do just this, including links to surveys and tools to help you. As mentioned, the questions asked at the start of the action plan tool on Heads Up would be a great start to use to discuss with staff to get their input around what's needed, or you might want to use a more detailed tool such as the HSE UK assessment tool, the guardingminds@work assessment, or work safe Queensland's people at work survey.



You can find links to all of these under the step two, identify your needs, page on Heads Up that you can see on this slide at the moment.


The step three: develop a plan, page has more information to help you do this. It also has more details on the seven goals found under the integrated approach that we looked at before. Under each of the goal headings you can find information on the purpose of the goal, actions to undertake to reach it, and resources to help you do it.



And then, under the page step four: monitor, review and improve, you can find some simple templates that you can use to review actions and initiatives you undertake, but also links to more detailed evaluation resources.


If you are a small business owner or manager, Heads Up also has a specific page around developing healthy workplaces just for you. With links to resources and educational programmes that can help based on small business-specific needs and limited resources.



Another great resource that will assist you in your work is this soon to be released developing a workplace mental health strategy: a how to guide. So, earlier this year, Beyond Blue launched a version of this resource specifically for health services as part of our work towards the health of doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff. We're undertaking work now to adapt this for a general workplace audience and are looking to release it in late February 2018. I've included on this slide where you can find the health service version of the guide on the Heads Up website, for those of you who are interested.



The core information will be the same, so if you can't wait for the adapted guide, check it out. It's a really great resource.


So, the last poll question's going to be coming out now.


I hope I have been able to provide you with some helpful guidance on how you might go about developing a mental health strategy for your workplace. We'll have this webinar up on the Heads Up website before Christmas. I'm aiming for it to be by the end of next week. We'll see, but keep an eye out because a link will be emailed to you.



As I mentioned earlier, the next webinar in the series will look deeper at the seven goals mentioned within the integrated model and more around implementing your plan. We're looking to hold this webinar in the new year. Most likely in late February, to allow for businesses closing and staff being on leave over the summer break. So, it'll be about the same time when the guide's released.



As you registered to participate in this webinar, you will receive an invitation to attend the next one closer too, but another way you can keep up to date and informed is to join Heads Up via the Heads Up website. It only takes about thirty seconds and by doing this you can save your progress on tools like the action plan and you'll be sent an e-update once a month where we'll keep you updated on newly launched resources and upcoming events like the next webinar, and show tips to make you and your workplace more mentally healthy.



So, now we're going to turn over to some questions. If anyone's got any, please send them through now.


I was asked at the start if we can have a copy of this presentation. You will get this sent to you, as mentioned, once it's uploaded onto the Heads Up website, we will get the link sent right out to you. That includes recording of the presentation and recording of me as well. Lucky you.



So, somebody's asked of mental health and well-being is sometimes together, sometimes separate, do you recommend one strategy or both and we really recommend one strategy. Integrating this into your everyday health and well-being policies, procedures and what you've got in the workplace is a really great way to ensure that they're effective in being sustainable and they're integrated into something that will last. So, I completely recommend that you put them together and look at it as a holistic whole.



I was asked what if the person with a mental health issue is the business owner. Thankfully, the staff are okay. This is really difficult and I think it really comes down to supporting others in the workplace. You can't make somebody seek help if they're not ready to, but there are ways that you can give them good advice and good support. On the Heads Up website there's a section called ‘Supporting Others’, which has a lot of great tips about how you can support others in the workplace and some things you can do to have conversations with them about things you might be concerned about and also offer suggestions about what they can do to seek help.



So, we've been asked what sort of adoption has the Heads Up mental health strategy had across the small business community. Michael, you might be able to help me with this one.



Sure, thanks Rachel. We've recognised with the small business community that they do have unique challenges in terms of their size and capacity and resources and what we've done is found a working group with the Council Of Small Business Organisations of Australia to provide us advice around what are the things that small businesses particularly need and what are the best ways of getting that out to them, and you will have seen some of that in the recent refresh of the website, which has got a stronger focus on small business and a clearer way of getting to those resources. Also, we have an ongoing engagement with that organisation. We're working through small business commissioners in each of the states as ways of utilising existing channels that small businesses go to so it can be part of their normal way of doing business.



Thanks, Michael. We've also got another question saying, "Does Heads Up have tools that are more focused on suicide prevention frameworks for organisations?" Now, the Heads Up website does have some information specific for suicide prevention and response. There's some really great information, again, under the supporting others tab as well as some general information for all employees in the workplace around what they can do to prevent and to help others who might have experienced suicide or lost somebody to suicide. There's some core information workplaces can do and what they should do to prevent and prepare for the instance of a suicide of a worker or somebody close to a worker.



There's also a great section around information for managers and there are specific things that managers can look at and do to help staff or to help staff who are coming back to work. There's some really great case study videos where we've got people talking about their experience returning to work after a suicide attempt or after losing somebody to suicide whether that's a family member or a colleague, so I really recommend you check that out.



There's another question that says, "Do we have tools for employees around self-care." We've got some great information on our website. This is redeveloped early this year and we relaunched it in August. We've got a whole section on taking care of yourself and staying well on the Your Mental Health tab on the Heads Up website. It's got some great information on what you can do at work to take care of yourself, in your social life, lifestyle and in your relationships, so they're the four main factors. This information is really good for everyone, not just somebody who's struggling, because everyone needs to take care of themselves and make sure you keep staying in the green of the end of the spectrum that we talked about earlier. Just to make sure that you're being the best you can be.



So, somebody's asked, "How do we engage managers in applying a mental health strategy and support employees and themselves in managing mental health in the workplace?" Well, we've talked about a few things you can do under the gain leadership support and in that, I would really recommend looking in the Heads Up website Why It Matters page. This has a lot of great information to help you build your business case that you can then use to engage managers and get them on board for why they need to pay attention and integrate this into their workplace.



Sometimes, that could be just the return on investment, by showing them that they're going to be saving money by doing this can make their mind look at things a little bit differently and supporting employees and themselves in managing mental health in the workplace, as I said before, the Your Mental Health section has some great information about how employees can do that and it's really good to be able to promote that in the workplace and share that with employees so they're aware that it's there.



And if I could just add to what Rachel just said about engaging managers. I think one of the points to consider is if you can get an insight to where is your managers understanding of the topic at the moment, so rather than hit them with a big strategy, you may need to go in first and educate them around, "Well, this is the issue. This is how common it is. This is the impact on the workplace. This is the benefit to the workplace." To start getting them into the space where they will be open to considering a strategy. So, it is something that may take some time and you need to get to know, as I said, exactly where your manager thinking may be.



So, we’ve been asked if we have any recommendations for adapting this strategy to an entire group of health professionals, not just those working together, but across the entire jurisdiction. Now, that's going to be tough and we do have a health service team who worked on the how to guide that I showed you before. So, I'd recommend looking at the Heads Up website under the Healthy Workplaces tab. There is a page specifically for health professionals and health services, I believe it's called. This will give you a bit of information about things that you can do. It'll have a link to the guide and other resources that might help you doing that and you can always contact us at Beyond Blue in the workplace team if you want to talk to somebody a bit more about this.



I think that's all the questions we have. Sorry, there's one more that's come through. “Would you ensure that the well-being strategy sits under the culture strategy rather than sitting on its own?” As I mentioned before, I think it's really important to integrate these into one of the other well-being and health strategies you've got in the workplace including the culture strategy. You don't want it sitting separately. It adds another bit of work and if it's not fully integrated into other strategies- because mental health is about health. If we're not taking care of ourselves physically, our mental health is going to suffer and vice versa, so it's best to put that all together.



I think Rachel's just made a really good point there in that this is not about starting a whole new initiative, in that mental health sits into well-being, it fits into work health and safety. It fits into risk management. In fact, it empowers each of those strategies to be more effective. So, the strategy for improving workplace mental health is an integral part of any business and how you execute it can be through existing channels like a culture strategy, OH&S or risk management.



Thanks everyone for participating today and for being up so many great questions. Keep an eye out for the email with the link to the presentation and also the invitation to the next webinar next year. I'm going to hand it back to our moderator now.


Speaker 1:

Thank you to Rachel for your presentation and thank you to everyone for attending the webinar. We thank you in advance for your feedback and wish you a pleasant afternoon.