MEMBERSHIP BLOG: Mental Health in the Workplace

Jobs Australia’s forum, Mental Health in the Workplace, was held on World Mental Health Awareness Day this year. This forum enjoyed my complete support, as a constant in my practice has been to promote the value of wellbeing as a central feature, informing all that I do. This remains the case at Jobs Australia, where any value derived from employment is either enhanced or impaired depending on the broader wellbeing of the person. Good mental health relates to positive wellbeing and is vital to the retention of a job. Adversely, the experience of an acute mental health episode or ongoing mental health issues not only impacts upon the immediate capacity to work (as well as the broader indictors of wellbeing), but may initiate a process of stigma which echoes through an individual’s working life. Throughout the workshop one hashtag that was embraced was #stopthestigma. 

The line-up of presenters at Mental Health in the Workplace consisted of a diversity of lived experience, clinical knowledge and community leadership. The overwhelming message which carried the day was that mental health concerns do not occur in isolation and often accompany (and may be accompanied by) trauma, stigma and harm.

[Mr Brendan O’Connor MP, Ms Debra Cerasa CEO Jobs Australia & Lance Picioane, CEO Love Me, Love you]

 

Love Me, Love You CEO, Lance Picioane chaired the event providing a compelling narrative informed by his lived experience. The event commenced with a warm and engaging welcome to country from the Djirri Djirri Dance Group.

Following this, the Shadow Portfolio holder for Employment, Mr Brendan O’Connor MP reflected on his broad experience in overseeing portfolios across both human services and employment in opposition and government. Mr O’Connor reflected on the harms associated with stigma, the at times destructive narrative pertaining to employment policy and the increasing rate of older jobseekers relying on benefits. 

[Mr Brendan O’Connor, Shadow Minister for Employment]

 

Clinical experts Doctors De Fazio and Davis canvassed content on Mental Health in the Workplace from a clinical perspective and provided some means for managers to respond. Luke Marshall reflected on his own journey and experience of mental illness and articulately illustrated how it intersected into all aspects of his life. The highs and lows of his personal story became an integral part of what secured his job opportunity to work with Google. It was recognised that his resilience was a skill they wanted. Following this, a panel discussion chaired by Lance Picionae and introducing ex-footballer Brent Harvey explored a range of issues, collating all the expertise of all the presenters from the day.

 [Forum Panellists: Luke Marshall, Dr. Brooke Davis, Dr. Daniella De Fazio and Brit Steers, BHSC Nutrition]

 

This event also provided a launching pad for Jobs Australia’s rollout of Mental Health in the Workplace training from a human resources perspective. A preliminary reflection on the evaluation results reveals a satisfied audience reflecting on a highly relevant topic.

For more information and to discuss mental health in the workplace training in your organisation, contact Workplace Relations at Jobs Australia on assistwr@ja.com.au or 1800 331 915.