Mental Health in the Workplace. Kate Hubl- Occupational Therapist

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1 Mental Health in the Workplace Kate Hubl- Occupational Therapist

2 So what does the workplace have to do with mental health and mental health issues?

3 Its not abnormal, weird, strange or weak to experience stress, depression, anxiety or other mental health issue. In fact, almost half of the Australian population experience a mental health issue at some point in their lifetime. It s really quite normal

4 Stress - Stress is your body's way of responding to demands - It can be caused by both good & bad experiences. - Bodies react by releasing chemicals into the blood. - These chemicals give people more energy & strength, ready for action alertness - Having an outlet for this extra energy & strength is important for our mental health. - Work related stress occurs when demands are not balanced with skills/ abilities/ knowledge

5

6 Types of Stress 1. Survival Stress 2. Internal Stress 3. Environmental 4. Fatigue & Overwork

7 4 Quick Tips 1. Breathe Deeply - take several deep breaths to slow down your heart rate and reduce your anxiety. 2. Relax your muscles - stretch your neck, stand or sit up straight, get some of the tension out of your body. 3. Make Change - step back from what you're doing and/or what's stressing you; a few seconds can bring a lot of perspective. 4. Laugh - nothing relieves the tension in your body, or your mind, like a little humour.

8 Depression Symptoms for 2 weeks or more in 3 or 4 categories Behaviour- not getting things done, not going out as often, withdrawing, relying on alcohol and sedatives, difficulty concentrating Feelings- guilty, irritable, unhappy, overwhelmed Thoughts- I m a failure, life s not worth living Physical symptoms- constantly tired, feeling sick and rundown, churning gut, sleep problems, change in appetite

9 Anxiety The signs of anxiety often develop gradually and can be hard to identify There are 6 main anxiety disorders; generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, agoraphobia, PTSD and OCD Common general symptoms include: Hot and cold flushes, racing heart, tightening chest, obsessive thinking, compulsive behaviour, snowballing worries

10 Are you ok?

11 Helping Someone Talk to the person about how they re feeling. Are you ok? Listen to what they re saying Maintain eye contact and sit in a relaxed position positive body language will help you both feel more comfortable. Use open-ended questions such as So tell me about...?, which require more than a yes or no answer. This is often a good way to start a conversation.

12 Helping Someone If your conversation becomes difficult or the person you re talking to gets angry, stay calm, be firm, fair and consistent, admit if you are wrong and don t lose control. Often, just spending time with the person lets them know you care and can help you understand what they re going through. Encourage the person to seek professional help from their family doctor or a mental health worker, help them make an appointment, ask them how it went Encourage them to try to get enough sleep, eat well, exercise and use self help strategies

13 Help Available Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Local GP- assessment, referral to psychological support, psychiatrist, medication ACIS /7 triage to Adult MHS Life Line Beyond Blue Support Service

14 Other things to consider for the individual Choosing to disclose a mental health condition to your employer and colleagues Working with a mental health condition; addressing stressors and issues that may impact on recovery See for ideas on telling your story, creating a work plan, rights and responsibilities etc

15 Other things to consider for your colleagues Supporting a colleague returning to work after experiencing mental illness Think about how would you support someone who had returning after physical illness?

16 Employers Role/ Mentally Healthy Workplaces Creating a mentally healthy workforce, including promoting positive workplace culture minimising workplace risks related to mental health supporting people with mental health condition preventing discrimination Beyond Blue- National Workplace Program workshops in awareness, early intervention and prevention

17 Questions? Thank You

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