Supporting staff and colleagues

Redback Conferencing:

 

Hello everyone, and welcome to today's Beyond Blue webinar. Today's discussion is on supporting staff and colleagues. We are pleased to welcome our presenter for today, Liz Tobin. This is webinar is live and interactive. You are encouraged to pose questions to the presenter throughout the presentation. If you are experiencing technical issues during the webinar, please dial our support team on 1-800-733-416. This number will be listed in the dropbox below momentarily. I will now like to pass you over to Liz to begin.

 

Liz Tobin:

 

Thank you very much for that, Redback, and thank you all very much for dialling in today for this webinar. I'm looking forward to spending the next hour with you, looking at how to support colleagues in the workplace. This is directed to managers and individuals, colleague to colleague. As Redback's already mentioned, there's plenty of time for questions. We'll have them at the tail end of today's session.

My name is Liz Tobin and I'm a workplace mental health and wellbeing consultant. So, from the outset, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land we're made on today and pay my respects to their elders, past and present, and the elders from other communities who may be here today.

Today we'll be discussing how to support staff and colleagues in the workplace, you might be concerned about, or know, how the mental health condition. This follows on from a webinar we held a couple of weeks ago that focused on mental health awareness. If you didn't have the chance to participate in that webinar, you can view it on the Heads Up website and this will be on the website in the next few weeks. So hopefully these two will be launched together. This webinar will also be on that page as I just mentioned. You'll also be sent that because you have registered for this.

Firstly, what we'll be covering today is the importance of supporting staff and colleagues. We'll cover off tips for having a conversation. We'll discuss how managers and colleagues can support someone's recovery at work. We'll talk about what supports and resources are available and we'll also discuss questions at the end.

So, firstly the important of supporting staff and colleagues. If you participated in the previous webinar, you may recall the fact that approximately three million people in Australia experience depression and/or anxiety every year. With the majority of these people being in the peak of their working lives, from this stat that we can really anticipate that in most workplaces across Australia, there will be a percentage of people who are struggling, who are having a tough time for lots of different reasons. For this, it makes it important to start thinking about how we can better support them and provide them with easy access to resources. So, we're really looking at a really holistic picture for your workplace, not a person-to-person reactive response.

Just to recap some of the facts about anxiety and depression, it effects people in different ways. So, this is really important to remember if you're supporting people in the workplace. You may have worked closely with someone in the past and have a good understanding and grasp on how it impacts that individual. This information might necessarily carry over to subsequent experiences of supporting someone in the workplace. We do know that anxiety and depression can affect many aspects of people's everyday life and impact on their daily ability to function in a way that they would normally do. So, with this, we know that it does impact at times on people's ability to be productive in the workplace. We might see these through withdrawal, arriving late, having days off, a decrease in performance. Likewise, it's really important to remember you may not see any symptoms at all for individuals. That said, you still want to create a culture where individuals can come and talk to the staff or support staff about how they're going, if they're having a tough time.

One point that's really important to make here is that different people will access different treatments and support to get and stay well, so everyone needs to have their own very personal journey around that. We do know that people who don't seek help and support can be at an increased risk of suicide, unfortunately.

What we do know is that with support from the workplace, people often get well and they stay well. We know that it's really important to keep people engaged in work and this may, at times, require you to be more creative, more innovative, but we know that work will improve their quality of life and wellbeing. It gives structure and routine to day-to-day activities. It can contribute to someone's sense of meaning and purpose and this is really important if someone's having a tough time. If you recap on some of those symptoms around anxiety and depression, some of them are really around feeling hopeless and helpless and feeling overwhelmed. If they can spend their time at work having a sense of meaning and feeling like they are important in the bigger scheme of things, this can be really critical.

We also know their social interactions can really assist someone to get and stay well. A further point is that it does provide financial security. So, being at home on the couch is not necessarily the best thing for someone to stay and get well.

We're going to just move to a poll question now and this first poll question, I just want you take a minute to look at this and put in your responses. The poll question is, "How do you rate your current confidence in supporting a colleague or staff member at work?" If you could just take a moment to enter your response. I'm just going to see what responses are coming through now. I think you can all see this, we're getting a really broad range and there's some people who have very good confidence, and that's fantastic. They're the people that if I was face-to-face, you would want to leverage off your knowledge and just after that, your organization. And so we had a really even spread here from one to very good. Alright, thank you all very much for taking the time to do that quickly and answer that poll question, we'll move on now.

So, we are going to talk now about tips to having a conversation. It’s really important in the workplace to approach someone if you are genuinely concerned about them. In some workplaces, it does require a real shift in thinking, as traditionally work places have been a setting where we don't really talk about personal issues, we can often see it as overstepping the mark or prying, but the evidence has really directed us to say it’s best practice if it’s done in a respectful way and a genuine way, it can really provide another point for people to get access to supports. We'll explore spoken tips and ideas about how to do this.

People will often ask when should you actually approach someone and why should you approach someone. This kind of sounds quite simple here and I suppose if your concerned about them, you approach them. You don't wait, you don't have to wait 3 weeks or 2 weeks or watch them, just if your genuinely concerned about someone that's a perfect time to start a conversation. If you notice changes in their behavior, things like a decrease in their performance, they may become more socially withdrawn or might just be you can't quite put your finger on it that they just don't seem themselves. The longer you work with a group of people, the more advantage you have in this area. That said, still working with people for short periods of time, you can get a sense of their work habits, their interaction levels and that can often guide you, hang on this is just not quite like, and of course if you hear that they are feeling suicidal, it’s really critical that you approach them or speak to someone else who is going to approach them.

As I said, this actually sounds quite simple, looks like quite a nice, lovely little slide here but there is lots of hesitation as to people not wanting to start these conversations, which I can really appreciate. There is a lot of fear involved, in approaching someone. We are often worried that we will make things worse. That we will cause offense to them and damage the relationship that we already have built with them in the workplace. It may also be that in the workplace for not wanting to get involved or simply that were just not sure how to do it, so there's a whole list of reasons. But it comes back to this idea that if you don't approach them maybe someone else will. But, on the flip side, maybe no one will, so if your approaching someone it does take a bit of courage but keeping in mind this might be the best way for them to get the help they need and the support.

So, we know that employees can develop expertise area. Remind yourself that it’s no different talking to someone else about their feelings, the topic is just a little bit more delicate, as I said you may be the only person who has noticed changes in their behavior, and it may be really pivotal. Remember it’s not your job to offer diagnosis or counselling, we’re certainly not encouraging you to take on that great a role, even if your background in the workplace has those skills, if you've been a manager or their peer, you don't need to wearing that hat, it really is to check are they okay, are they getting supports they need or can you assist them to access those supports, that's your role here, it’s no greater than that.

There's six steps that were going to talk through about how to have a conversation. For those of you who are very experienced this would be reinforced in probably what you've already been doing but that can provide us with a nice framework if you have less experience. Its planning the conversation, how to start, listen carefully, respond, what to do next and also remembering to look after yourself.

The first one is, planning the conversation. Really taking some time to prepare and think about how you’re going to have a conversation. One of the first things you might do is first find out what supports and help is available in your workplace. If you’re in a larger organization it'll probably be an employment assist program, some organization will also have peace support programs or chaplains on site. If you’re in a small organization you may have access to a list of community services or national organization like Beyond Blue. So find those things out first, just in case the opportunity comes up during the conversations where you can provide them the information.

Now consider who should be having the conversation. Just because you are concerned about someone and you've noticed that they don't seem quite themselves, you may not always be that best person. Just take a pause and think what you want to achieve here is that person to feel supported and to have the best outcome. So if you have a strained relationship with them or you don't know them very well or you just feel overwhelmed by it, for whatever reason, make sure you pass then on to someone else in your workplace. And do that in a confidential and respectful way. So you might take that to a manager or to another peer who shares your concern for that person.

It's also really important to think about the most appropriate time and place. Now often in workplaces, by the afternoon, people have down time. On the flip side, people do not want to start conversations on a Friday afternoon if they are having a tough time. What they want to do is get out that door and get home. Of course, if you’re working shift work or irregular hours, catching someone at the tail end of it may not be the right time. But this will vary greatly across organization to organization, so really think what works best in your workplace when you’re thinking about time and place. Make sure there is access to somewhere that might be private where the person actually feels comfortable. I know some of the tips that workplaces have given me over the years who work in less conventional environments say they often go for a drive if they have to get supplies and that's a really good place to have a conversation or walk if they've got space to go for a walk. If they don't have access to an office, so be creative around that but ensure it’s a place that person will be comfortable speaking with you.

So how to start, look I think the best thing to do is use your own words, be yourself, if you stumble a little bit, that's absolutely fine. You don't need to sound like you've scripted it too much. It’s about being really thoughtful and being really genuine and that will come across quite quickly to whoever you’re speaking with. You don't need to have all the answers you’re not there to fix things for them. Your just there to listen and provide that gap between them getting support. If you say something that isn't right, sound right and your stumbling over it, just say, I'm sorry, I've never done this before but I am really concerned about you. So I think the thing is here, be yourself and that's all you can do.

Remember to really listen carefully when someone does start to disclose to you and listening seems like a really easy passive thing to do but it can be really difficult, particularly if we're feeling a bit worried about someone, we want to jump in and we want to fix it and we want to support them but sometimes the best thing you can do is just let them talk, it’s their story, it may be the first time they've been able to speak about how they're feeling to someone. The other thing here is to be aware of your body language. So, this can be really contextualized depending on the workplace and the work environment that you’re in. Just be aware of that, I 'll talk a little bit more about that later. Repeat back so understanding what they've said to make sure its accurate. They are just a few things to keep in mind.

Moving on to four. Respond. So as I said before, you do not have to fix it, your there to listen to what they are saying. Talk about it another time, if that suits them. Say I’d like to catch up and chat you again or have a coffee or go for a walk. Keep checking in with them. You do this in a way that makes sense for the relationship that you've got with them and that can vary, depending whether your managing them, whether you've already got a close friendship with them or whether you’re a peer and don't really have a close friendship. Really do what contextual.

Now checking in with them doesn't necessarily mean having a coffee with them every second day, it might be as simple as shooting them an email or a text and just touching base and saying is everything okay. And not prying, you don't need to know everything that going on with someone, just knowing that they are okay is all you need to do.

You might need to reassure them that you respect their privacy and the conversation that you've had with them, stays with them. Privacy really depends on the context of your relationship that you have. If it is peer to peer, then that absolutely fine. If you are a manager, you need to be clear “at this point in time this information is just between us. I may need to look at getting in more supports, I may need to discuss it with HR”. So be really transparent around that, don't promise things that don't really fit within the policies and the framework of your organisation.

Number five is what to do next. When you’re having that conversation with them, you may choose to discuss options for further support, that links back to that number one of know what supports are available. Finish the conversation with a plan of what's next. If you’re a manager, it might be quite a structured meeting. If it’s a peer, it might be, okay if I shoot you an email or send you a message later in the week. So just have a clear plan there.

Appreciate that they are open and share this joy with you because the individual who is struggling, it can be a really difficult and quite overwhelming thing for them to do. It’s important that you check in with them in a few days.

It’s also really important, when you are having a conversation with someone is that you look after yourselves. So sometimes you may get more than you bargained for in that conversation it might be more personal than what you expected to be. It might resonate with things going on in your own life or trigger. It might just be upsetting or it might be think gosh I just really really hope I said the right thing and didn't say the wrong thing or made things worse. So I would encourage you to talk to someone just to debrief. There might be cases where you do want more support where you access that but it can be nice. Still respecting that persons privacy, just to check in with a third party saying you know this is the conversation in brief. There won't always be a need for that but if you’re taking it home with you and its sitting with you uncomfortably, I would strongly encourage you to do that.

There come the unexpected outcomes to having a conversation. They may really just not want to talk about it and that's absolutely fine. In the workplace particularly, you need to respect their choice but make sure you let leave the door open for further conversation. It might be they don't want to talk about it right now, in that moment, where you've planned and orchestrated that you’re ready to talk about it and given it a bit of thought. It’s the first thing, you’re ready to get stuck into it but they may not be. You may want to just come back and try a few more times, gently saying look, I know you didn't want to talk about it, I just want to make sure you’re okay.

Also, just showing your support and offer to talk, can make a difference. They might take action at a later stage, they might take action right away but choose not to tell you that they're doing that. So you actually never know the impact that you've had by starting a conversation with someone.

If they disclose that they are feeling suicide or they're planning on taking their own life, it’s really critical of you that you do seek guidance from a manager, a HR professional or your EAP immediately or of course contact lifeline. That's a really critical thing, privacy obviously doesn't stick when we're worried about someone feeling suicidal.

If they disclose that they are feeling suicide or they're planning on taking their own life, it’s really critical of you that you do seek guidance from a manager, a HR professional or your EAP immediately or of course contact lifeline. That's a really critical thing, privacy obviously doesn't stick when we're worried about someone feeling suicidal.

Next we're going to play a case study, the video, the gentleman, Paul, it’s not Paul, Bill is his name, having a conversation with his work mate, Nick. I’d just like you to watch this and see how Bill uses some of those strategies I'm talking about.

 

Bill:

 

Can I sit down?

 

Nick:

 

Yeah, if you want.

 

Bill:

 

New phone?

 

Bill:

 

Yeah, I’ve had it a couple of weeks. But, I can’t work out how to text properly.

 

Bill:

 

Ah, right. We’ve worked together for well, I suppose 10 years now. I say we’d know each other fairly well.

 

Nick:

 

Yeah, I suppose.

 

Bill:

 

Is everything going all right? You seem to be stressed and angry.

 

Nick:

 

Nothing. I’m fine.

 

Bill:

 

Well you don’t seem fine. Is everything alright at home?

 

Nick:

 

It’s nothing I can’t handle.

 

Bill:

 

Well it’s affecting your work. You can’t speak to Dianne how you did the other day. And throwing things around the factory, you know that’s dangerous. Can I help? It’s just between you and me.

 

Nick:

 

Everything’s just getting on top of me at the moment. Kate can’t work because of her back. We’re trying to pay the mortgage, school fees, bills … all on one income. It’s just killing me. We haven’t had a holiday in years.

 

Bill:

 

Well have you spoken to anyone? You know, there’s a hotline you can ring, it’s free and confidential. I’ll get you the details.

 

Nick:

 

Mate, I’ll be fine, it’s just a rough patch.

 

Bill:

 

Do you remember my mate Paulie?

 

Nick:

 

Yeah.

 

Bill:

 

He had a terrible time last year. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I mean he nearly lost his house. He was just stressed out to the max and he was such an easy-going bloke. And then he spoke to someone.

 

Nick:

 

I can’t find the time for anything. But yes …yes yes look you’re right. I do need to do something.

 

Bill:

 

Well I’ll get the number. Have you spoken to the boss? Marco is really good like that. He can do something with your shifts. Give you a few extra hours. When I was going through the divorce, he was fantastic. He was really good.

 

Nick:

 

Maybe I should.

 

Bill:

 

Well it might make you feel better, and I’ll get that information and I’ll give it to you after lunch tomorrow. Why don’t you make an appointment to see Marco?

 

Nick:

 

Thanks Bill.

 

Bill:

 

Five o’clock yet?

 

Nick:

 

Not even close ...

 

Liz Tobin:

 

Thank you all very much for that. For those of you, I noticed that some of you had difficulties with the video, please, jump on the heads-up website after this, having a conversation/Nick, and that should come up. The link will also be sent to you if you want to look at it quicker. So, a few of the things that clearly listening to if you're having a conversation with your there. I like particularly is how Bill sets himself up. I think we talked about, I mentioned earlier body language. If you notice, Bill just sits down very naturally next to Nick like he would any other day, probably for their morning coffee. He doesn't sit eye-to-eye having an intense conversation with him, it’s very natural. His body language, his tone. If we turn the audio off, you actually wouldn't know what they were talking about. It could be talking about the football or the weather. So, he keeps his pace really natural and, as a result, Nick really does respond to that. He starts by asking something that's quiet superficial. He doesn't launch into a conversation that is awkward, saying I'm worried about you mate, what's going on? He talks about that phone first to get a sense of where Nick is, and in doing so, he's really getting a sense, Nick do you want to talk to me right now?

So, he also keeps his conversation to Nick's behavior rather than making any assumptions. He says, he saying, you seemed stressed and angry. He doesn't put any judgment into it at all. He doesn't make any attempts to diagnose, say I think this might be going on for you. He keeps it very, very simple. And I think that is the whole key here, the simplicity that underlines this is what works.

When Nick was reluctant to acknowledge something isn't right, Bill just very gently pushes him on, you know, and tells him he's concerned. You know, you can't behave like that in the workplace, so, he's very supportive. He provides that listening ear without judgment. I think, so it's a really nice example.

So, if you do want to- if you didn't get to watch that, apologies. You can get it on the link or if you want to re-watch it or show it to team, it'd be really useful as well to start discussion. It's on that heads up link.

So, talking to someone at work, it's very different to our normal relationships and our friendships and our family where we just dive deep into them. It can be a little bit more awkward. So there's some things that we really shouldn't do in the workplace that unfortunately, sometimes do happen in the workplace. And that is, ignore or avoid someone. And quite often this comes out of people just wanting to be respectful or they feel awkward. They're not sure what to do. They don't know how to fix the problem, so they just skirt around it. You know, people pick up on that very, very quickly. They feel quite isolated quite quickly. No one's saying hi, how are you going? So, make sure you don't do that in your workplace, or if it is, it's something that is spoken about. Don't try to fix the problems. And don't talk about your own problems when we're listening to ... Bill there, he wasn't talking about himself. He was really just listening there to Nick.

Be careful of language, please. In Australia, we do love to tell people to get over it, to get on with it, toughen up. This is incredibly unhelpful to someone who is having a tough time, because it really stops the conversation. It says you know, I really don't want to hear about it, you have to fix this yourself. So just be mindful that we don't, by mistake, devalue what someone is saying. If they're talking about it, it is a really big thing for them even if we see it differently.

My tip here for all of you, if you're overseeing teams or working in a champion role within your group, is to try putting into practice, cause it's one thing to look at a video, look at tips around it, but actually sitting down with a team building day or a team meeting, if you've got time to focus on mental health and well-being, and actually practice having this sorts of conversations in sort of a playful setting, just to help reduce that stigma and normalize it. It's really OK about talking about these things.

We're going to move on now and look at how managers and colleagues can support someone's recovery. So, we've already talked about having a conversation if someone is having difficulties in struggling how do we best support them.

So, as I said earlier we know that work plays a vital role in assisting an individual's recovery. And there's lots of different strategies that can be used in workplaces. We do know that most people with a mental health condition can effectively manage their work without effecting their ability or their performance.

So, there are some barriers to working with a mental health condition. One of the first is often reduced confidence where people, because of those symptoms that we talked about in the last webinar, feeling overwhelmed, a lack of confidence, low self-esteem. People can be really hard on themselves and be very critical of themselves in the workplace. So that's one of the biggest barriers in the individuals self-confidence.

They worry that workmates might find out without their permission. So you need to really be respectful of someone's privacy. Unfortunately, stigma associated with mental health conditions and the fear of possible discrimination can still be a barrier in our workplaces. Sometimes, an uncertainty about the type of assistance available to them can be a barrier and concerns that the workplace stresses that may add to their condition or may have caused it have not been addressed.

If someone has had some time off and they also have lost connection with their workmates and their colleagues, so for these reasons it's really important for managers, HR, and colleagues to help make the process of someone returning or staying at work as smooth as possible.

So, some tips for managers supporting recovery, these are just for managers. They're not appropriate for colleagues supporting each other, so I just want to make that really clear, so this is for a manager only. One of the first things here can be, and it's not always appropriate, but it is going to support an assist with work roles and duties and understanding the best way to assist someone. It may be appropriate to seek permission to talk to their doctor or psychologist. Often the best way to do this can be with an email where the person is also cc'ed in it, so it's very transparent about what the conversation is. So, they really hold the information, and not worried about you talking to their doctor. If you have am OH&S person, they may actually have systems in place in your organisation and protocols around this.

So, the next one, around developing a return to work plan. So, any changes should be made in collaboration with the individual. So, what you might think the changes should be might be quite different to what's gonna work for them. We can often make assumptions and take people off high-pressure projects or reduce their hours or take them off face-to-face work, because we assume that's what will be causing increase stress and impacting their health, but actually may not be completely accurate, so it's really important that you work closely with the individual and ask them what are the things during their work day that are working well for them, an what is causing them stress. Don't expect them to answer that in a 15 minute conversation. I recommend people leave people a day to think about them. So take a notebook and scribble down what are the things you really enjoy doing and helping your recovery at the moment and then come back and revisit that. Cause it's quite a big question and when you're asked that on the hop, you could think oh gosh, I don't know, so, you've got some time, and allow them to really think about it.

With a return to work plan, really clearly outline any changes to their responsibilities that have been mutually agreed upon, and the time frames for these changes. This time frame, time frames should generally be temporary changes, and should be revaluated. My recommendation is to revaluate this very regularly, because people’s health and recovery can change quite quickly, so you want to be that probably every week for someone.

It's likely others in the team, whenever there's changes, even within individuals and themselves or changes made to their role. So it's really important to discuss with the individual how they want to approach this with the team. They may feel safe and comfortable enough to disclose this with the team that they have a mental health condition and are taking steps to effectively manage this. Or, they might simply want no one to know, so role here as the manager is to honour whatever their wishes are. I think the tip here is impacting on individual team members you speak to those team members, not about the person who is unwell, but about their role and their demands, so you might actually have to spend a bit of extra time supporting those individuals whose had an increase in their workload for a period of time, or some changes, as a result of this.

Sometimes, an individual needs time off work to get their treatment started, or just to have a break and some time out for themselves. In this case, ensure you are the one responsible for managing their workload, so they don't come back to a backlog of work, with added pressure that they have to catch up and have missed out on ... It's also important to check in with them regularly, probably weekly, or fortnightly, so they understand their workplace is supportive and hasn't forgotten them. It can be as simple as sending them a text or phone call, reminding them that you're there if they need any support. This is really good to make this clear, in your return to work plan, or your absence from work plan, so they're expecting those calls and it's on their terms what that, how they would like you to be communicating with them.

It's also important to recognize in some instances the person may not be able to stay at or return to work. This would never be an easy choice for them to make. But your support of their decision will go a long way to help their recovery.

So, this is really great supporting information, specifically for managers surrounding helping staff stay at work. So, I'd encourage you to have a look at these on the heads up website. There's some information on how to manage chain related concerns, which I've only touched very briefly on. Tips to helping individuals stay at work. Tips on providing ongoing support. There's also information on suicide and suicide prevention. And information specifically for small businesses supporting employees, that’s it's worth having a look at. You may also find information around common adjustment that are made for individuals returning or staying at work. So, including adjustments around flexible working hours and locations, work load stress, training, and supports.

To help developing your plan on this page you can find return stay at work plan templates including meeting letter template, discussion plans and outlines for discussion plans for your own meeting and return, or stay at work template for change you both agree on, so some larger organization you already have those templates, but many of you, these could be really good place to start.

Now we're going to look at tips for co-workers, as supporting recovery. These are a really different relationship, so, what is required and what is expected is quite different, so ... The first thing there is, you know, have a chat about how they're feeling, so acknowledge if they're having a tough time. Suggest they seek help. Refer them to the resources such as EAP or peer support. Offer them help to make an appointment and find other information. This is a really important one, because often it is overwhelming to someone to just take that first step. Also, following up with them asking them how their appointment went. You don't need the nitty-gritty, but just to say that you, you know, you're worried about them. You want to know that it was positive in time talking about their experience, if that's appropriate to the relationship you have with them. A good thing in work places is just talking about mental health, you know, in really positive and healthy way.

Encourage them to exercise. I love that. It sounds like you should be telling everyone to just go exercise and you'll be fine. Really, what I think if you translate this into your workplace, it might be as simple as saying to someone, I'm going to go for a walk and get a coffee, and I'm gonna go the long way, will you come with me? I'm gonna go buy a salad at lunch, come for a walk with me. So, what is contextual to your relationship and what makes sense in your workplace.

And if it's practical, ask if you can assist them with their work tasks. So that will really depend on your work environment but for a lot of places, it might be moments where you can say hey, I'll take that off you and I'll share the load.

Things what not to do, and I think for anyone who's tuned in, you probably all agree with these. But I'll go through them anyway.

Do not tell them to snap out of it, pull their socks up and get, you know, get themselves together to cheer up. Exclude them from meetings or team get-togethers. Make sure they are included. Tell them they just need to stay busy and get out more. It's also important don't assume the problem will just go away on its own. If someone is unwell they need to get the right supports to get and stay well.

So, we're just going to move to another poll question now. This poll question is How would you rate your confidence in supporting a colleague or staff member at work now? Just ask you to respond to that.

Very happy to see we've got no very low or low. That's good. It's good for my confidence here. Just give that a few minutes. It's great to see these responses are adequate, good, and very good. I think even if you are incredibly experienced, this can be a difficult area to get your head around. And maybe if you've done it many times before it can be a difficult area in building confidence.

Thank you all very much to responding to that poll. We'll move forward.

Now there is a line now. Let's move on. But that's OK. That's fine. OK. We're now going to look at what supports and resources are available. I'll just move through these. These, I mentioned in our last webinar about the heads up website, and I probably also mentioned that this is sort of a place you can go. It's been designed specifically for workplaces to create mentally healthy workplaces. So, it has free resources for individuals, leaders, business owners, HR, OH&S managers, front line staff, including case studies, videos, tools, fact sheets, booklets, brochures, and the list goes on. The idea is this is designed for you to download and integrate into your workplace to sort of cherry-pick from this resource.

So, there is one section that is most relevant to today and it's supporting others. So, I'd encourage you to have a look at this after today and just go through it and see what really resonates with needs of your workplace there at the moment. So, it's got some really good advice on how to have conversations which we talked a bit about, but just might consolidate that learning or it's an opportunity for you to pass onto other people in your workplace. In this section is also some information around workplace bullying for managers and employees and suicide prevention, which is for everyone.

Some of the other resources here, which are really good for this section. And here we share our sheets for how to have a conversation. Managing someone with a mental health condition, and that can be incredibly challenging, particularly if you haven't had that experience before managing someone. So really getting some simple guidelines could be very useful. Supporting someone at work. And also the disclosure tool. This is a great tool to be aware of and to share with your workplace, your team. It's a tool that's been designed specifically for people to go and decide whether they're wanting to disclose, maybe to their manager or to their peers. And it really helps them to work out what decision is right for them. And it's a very personal decision.

There's some other online training options. So you'll see here the conversations one so Nick who I showed you today, Bill and Nick is there, but he's part of a series. Some of the other ones will get managers approaching them. So if you're in a management role, they're probably worth having a look at. There's some personal story piece and perspectives of people experiences as well and want information on how to approach someone. These have been designed so you can sit with teams and groups in the workplace, watch these and discuss them. And I think doing that is a really great way of increasing awareness, decreasing stigma. And just normalising expectations of the workplace. That it's okay to have these conversations, and that they can have a really positive impact on an individual.

The other training option is the toolbox training package. And this is to educated managers and staff around depression and anxiety. And how to have conversations and support. They've been designed to download completely and integrate into your workplace. So that's a really great one to have a look at.

The Beyond Blue website is also a really good resource for you to have a look at and be aware of and share information from that with your staff on an ongoing basis. Many of you will have supports in your workplace. Some of you will have HR, Employment Assist, Peer Support Programs, Chaplain or Counsellor Programs. If you do have these programs, make sure people are aware of them. Quite often you might have them but people don't know that they are for free and how they can access them and their phone numbers.

Other supports. I strongly recommend workplaces print this off. And they have these somewhere around the workplace. Whether in poster form or their intranet, whatever works best for your workplace so that people can easily access this information because it's really critical. We don't always know when we will need this information, so it needs to be right at our fingertips.

This is also a list of useful websites. Again, I think this can be very useful to have on the intranet or have easily accessible to your workplace. So people can really dip in and out of information as and when they need it. Rather than having to ask or go without it.

We're going to move to a third poll question now because our final poll question is how likely are you to access Heads Up resources to help support someone in your work place? I'm glad we're getting some responses here, and undecided. For the undecided, take five minutes when you're on the train or stuck in traffic, if you're not the driver, and have a look at it then and decide. Just integrate it because there are some really fantastic things there. You may have great infrastructure in your workplaces, and it might compliment what you already have. Thank you all very much for that poll question.

We're now going to move to the question section. I'm sorry, give me a minute. And if any of you have been posting questions, and maybe you've got more questions now, please pop them through. Just waiting to get some questions here. Okay. The question I've got here is ... Ah, I'm in the wrong box. My apologies everyone. Paula, thank you for your question, "How do you manage perceptions from someone with a mental illness? For example one of the ways in which their mental illness manifests to have self-talk that tells them that people don't like them. To the point where they'll interpret a comment like, "Hi, how are you today?" It's misconstrued to be like, "They're talking about me inappropriately and compliance is needed."

Paula, I think this is a really difficult one. If someone is hard to change someone's perception work environment, the best thing would be to support that person to get professional support, I think, to start working towards being more well. This question really reminds of the little quip on the Beyond Blue website at the moment. It's also been advertised commercially on TV about anxiety talking. But the thing in the workplace is you don't want to make any assumptions as to why the person is feeling this way and responding this way. You need to get the professional support to assist you with this.

Our next question is, "How do you support so who's lost someone to suicide?" This is a really important question. The first thing you need to do is ask them what they need from the workplace in this point in time. And they lost someone they love, so they're grieving. You need to be mindful that you support them like you do anyone else who's grieving someone. Also there's more complexities. They may need more time off work.

There's a lovely example on the Beyond Blue website of a woman talking very candidly about her experience of returning to work after she lost her son. And she said her manager and her organized a card of a red and a green card, which I love. And so she had a red card just placed on her desk, on her workstation if she didn't want to talk about things. And when she did want to talk about things she had her green card there. And for her, she said being at work was incredibly important because it helped her move forward at that time a little bit. But that support was really really great.so asking the person and giving them the space they need and the support they need.

Karen, "How do you go about the balance of supporting someone at work versus staff using the workplace as an opportunity to debrief about their personal lives every day." Great questions Karen. This is where you need to be very clear, and sometimes that seems harsh, about your role. If it's your manger or peer-to-peer. Them debriefing every day in the workplace actually isn't helping them get well. It can actually just reinforce some of that negatively. So it's quite gently putting some of those clear boundaries on time allowed to have those conversations. And pulling back. And reminding the person that while you really do want to support them, the best way for them to get support is through those professional avenues.

Victoria, your question is, "Besides Internet and posters, are there any ways you recommend creating awareness of the resources available?" I would show some of the resources, Victoria, some of those short DVDs show them in team meetings, and then people start to see what they really like, rather than having to look for things. There's also speakers. Beyond Blue has ambassadors who go out to workplaces. And they're fantastic, they're really amazing. So there are the speakers bureau that you can contact and have them come to your workplace. And that's a really powerful way of increasing awareness.

Raymond asked the question, "How do you help someone who's in the denial stage and shies away from everyone? Who doesn't want to see anyone or talk to anyone?" I think, Raymond, this could be a really difficult situation. I think I talked earlier about the need to debrief. And when you're really concerned about someone and trying to assist them, and they're not responding how you want them to, it's important that you also start to chat to someone else about what else could we be doing? People will have their own journey, and it's important to be respectful of that in the workplace. They may be shying away in the workplace, we don't know what supports they're getting outside of work. So just kind of chipping away. If people don't want to talk about things using emails and other forms to communication with them that, "You know, I'm here mate. I'm concerned about you. If you want to have a coffee or a chat." so you want to just keep that door open in an un-intrusive way.

Tanya, "What is the best way you recommend to arrange a welfare check for an employee who you fear is suicidal and is not contactable and has not come to work?" This is a really tricky question, Tanya. I'm actually going to ask Pippa Rose to help me with this one because there's a few layers to this around work responsibility, but also privacy. Do you agree Pippa?

 

Pippa Rose:

 

Yeah, no. Thanks Liz. Yes. So I guess it depends on the workplace and existing systems. I would probably go through your Human Resources Department. And usually they would have some details, perhaps, for a next of kin or a contact person that you perhaps could check up on that person when they are not attending work. If you had, I guess a different relationship with that person and you felt that you could make personal contact, that would be appropriate. So really, I think it depend on the situation. If there was a significant reason to be fearful of that person harming themselves, then there are the suicide call back service. That you can get some immediate support in a crisis.

So I'd really recommend if you wanted to have those details to hand in your workplace, Beyond Blue website, there's Lifeline, that have some better information that you can have on call as needed.

 

Liz Tobin:

 

Thanks Pippa. Next question is about currently work with education. It was the question about accessing information on supporting youth. Beyond Blue actually has a website that is just for youths. It's a page. And that will also have ... It's got specific support online chat forums as well and specific phone lines for you. So that would be your best avenue to start to educate them and provide them that angle of support.

Vera, her question is, "What advice would you provide to managers who are managing staff with a mental health issue, but is not commonly known amongst staff? So for example, if one employee thinks that the ill employee is not pulling their weight." Look Vera this is really common question. This comes because to really good management skills, I'm afraid. Because there's lots of reasons why people may be going through things not at work. Not just mental health, it could personal issues, financial issues, the whole bit. So my key thing is to manage, I suppose, work that has been delegated those individuals who feel like they're getting too much work. And put a stop to it. Really say to them, "Look, we have a culture here supporting people here when they need to be supported." And that's what you really need to be doing. Not giving it too much airtime.

Jamie Lee, "How do you show or let someone know that mental health issues aren't anything to be ashamed of? And that seeking help is a good thing?" This is a great question. And I think personal stories are probably a really good way of doing this. You can take a team approach to this. And add it to the agenda under your mental health on your weekly or monthly meetings to share some of the personal stories around mental health. They're on the Heads Up website and the Beyond Blue website. Because I think they are a great way of addressing stigma, normalising mental health, and really showing people do get well and do stay well. And really smart, amazing people at times have tough times.

 

Pippa Rose:

 

So we've just got one ... Sorry, Pippa here. I'm taking over from Liz.

 

Liz Tobin:

 

Thanks Pippa.

 

Pippa Rose:

 

Just for someone's come in and ask a question about Beyond Blue's access program. This is another fantastic avenue for people to gain support if needed. It's not national, so it's available in some states, but I'll go through that in a minute. But just to give you a background of new access. It's being developed by Beyond Blue to provide free and confidential support to help day-to-day pressures. So it provides six sessions with a new access coach who's specially trained and experienced. And it's about setting practical goals that will help you get back on track. So things like work stress, changing living arrangements, new parent worries, family problems, health concerns are some of the reasons why people might reach out and look at obtaining some support from a new access coach.

So if you wanted more information on that, it'd be on the Beyond Blue website, has a whole range of information about further detail and the evaluation of that program. At present, it's not available everywhere within Australia. But on the website, you'll be able to see if it's available in your area. So Queensland, New South Wales, ACT, and some areas of Victoria, I think Gippsland have access to that.

 

Liz Tobin:

 

All right. Thank you very much for that, Pippa. Thank you all very much for the questions that have come through. We're coming to the end now of our webinar. So I want to thank you very much for participating in our webinar. And I hope we've been able to provide you with some helpful guidance on how to have a conversation with someone you might be concerned about at work. And how to support staff and colleagues who have a metal health condition who might be struggling.

We will have this webinar up on the Heads Up website in a couple of weeks. So keep an eye out as the link will be emailed to you. Our next webinar will be in the new year. As you've registered to participate in this webinar, you'll receive an invitation to attend the next one closer to its date. Another way you can be informed is to join the Heads Up, via the Heads Up website. This takes you about 30 seconds. So you can do I on your way home if you're on public transport. So there's no excuses for time. And this can give you access to the tools I've talked about. And also you'll be sent updates each month if you're on that list. And you get updates that come through and launched resources and upcoming events, including the next webinar and tips that you can kind of share with your workplace and your teams around how to make them more mentally healthy.

So, I want to thank you all very, very much for your time and for logging on today. Thank you. Back to Redback. Thank you.

 

Redback Conferencing:

 

Thank you to Liz for your presentation. And thank you to everyone for attending the webinar today. Please stay logged in to take our online survey which will be on your screen momentarily. We thank you in advance for any feedback and wish you a great afternoon. Thank you.