Why is it important to learn about mental health?

Mental health means many things to different people. We have all heard the statistic that 1 in 3 people will suffer from a mental health issue at some point in their life. Yes, it’s scary, but it’s also important to feel like you’re equipped with the right skill set to help loved ones who are being affected by poor mental health issues and also help yourself if you’re the one struggling.

The World Health Organisation, also known as WHO, defines mental health as, “a state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

During the Christmas Holiday period, mental health should not be ignored, with emotions and feelings coming to the surface naturally at this time of year.

It’s extremely important to understand mental health to be able to effectively identify when someone else is struggling, how to be a support, and also to know when to seek help for that person. On a more immediate level, you can understand your own emotions and behaviours better and determine if, at any point, external help and support are required. 

Mental Health in the workplace. 

On a professional level, increasing awareness about mental health in the workplace is crucial. It’s particularly important for managers to have an even deeper understanding to effectively interact with colleagues, and manage staff that may be struggling. In many cases, addressing this topic and putting in place strategies to address mental health has decreased absences, increased overall productivity and improved workplace culture. 

According to Safe Work Australia, mental health can be affected by some of the following factors:  

  • high job demand
  • low job demand
  • poor support
  • poor workplace relationships
  • low role clarity
  • poor organisational change management
  • poor organisational justice
  • poor environmental conditions
  • remote or isolated work, and
  • violent or traumatic events.

Many workplaces have implemented strategies to improve mental health in their organisations, for example offering counselling options, free yoga and mindfulness classes during work hours, and offering mental health days when required. There are many online resources, and mental health services available to learn more about mental health, or you can speak to a health professional on the topic. You can download a Mental Health Toolkit from Black Dog Australia, it includes strategies and resources that can help Australian workers with mental health support in the workplace. The Black Dog institute primarily exists to conduct research into the prevention and treating of mental illness. You can learn more about them here

In October this year, Health Care Insurance sponsored the Mind Games Race for Research and entered a team. The event raised awareness and money for mental health research, among the local corporate community, which is such an important message to share and we are proud to have played such a big role. 

Raise awareness

You will notice in many communities there are people who are working hard to raise awareness and fundraise for mental health, one of the best things that you can do is to be an advocate and provide support. 

What can you do to help others?

Share the message on your networks, get together a full table or more for fundraisers, and if you feel able, share your own story! This can be one of the most powerful ways to help others, and you might even experience benefits from doing this yourself. 

Ask are you okay? 

Visit R U OK for advice on how to start the conversation with a friend, colleague or loved one. They promote the following steps to approach the situation.  

1. Ask R U OK?

2. Listen

3. Encourage action

4. Check-in

At Health Care Insurance, we care about mental health in our community. We love supporting our brand ambassador and adventure runner Ben Hirst (see his Facebook page here) who has completed many charity events and fundraisers for the cause. 

If you think you are suffering from mental health, you can visit the Beyond Blue for a support line, and you can also complete a checklist to identify if you have been affected by mental health in the last four weeks, with steps on what to do next. 

For help, call 1300 22 4636.

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