From both an ethical and economical point of view, employee health is likely to be a high priority for businesses across any sector. While a comprehensive staff induction program can help keep new employees informed about the potential dangers associated with the job, judging your workers' psychological wellbeing can be slightly more difficult.
According to Safe Work Australia, mental disorders arising from stress in the workplace have become an increasingly important concern for employees, employers and the general public as a whole.
45.5 per cent of Australians will experience a mental health disorder.
Mental health in Australia
The mind is a complicated thing, and people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds face mental health issues every day. In fact, 1 in 5 Australians have experienced a mental health disorder in the last 12 months, according to the Mental Health Council of Australia, while almost half (45.5 per cent) will suffer from one at some stage in their life.
What's more, non-permanent workers may be particularly susceptible to these issues. Research published in The Journal of Epidemiology found an association between temporary employment and mental health concerns, which may be caused by the instability such a position provides.
So, what can you do to ensure your employees are feeling positive?
R U OK?
R U OK? Day is the brainchild of philanthropist Gavin Larkin, who founded the initiative in 2009. It aims to connect those in need and protect people across Australia and around the world from suicide. How does it seek to achieve this? By simply encouraging people to ask the question: "Are you okay?" The initiative advocates for people to speak out both in real life and on social media, as we can see in this tweet below:
— ruokday (@ruokday) September 7, 2015
Suicide is a complex phenomenon, and there are many factors that may contribute to a person's decision to take their own life. Nevertheless, according to R U OK?, writer and academic Dr Thomas Joiner has identified three key reasons that may ignite suicidal tendencies in a person:
- He or she thinks they have a high capacity to withstand pain.
- He or she believes they are a burden on others.
- He or she feels disconnected from friends, family and work colleagues.
It's this final point that R U OK? Day is aiming to resolve. By encouraging people to enquire about the wellbeing of those around them, the initiative hopes that at-risk individuals will feel more connected and optimistic about life, long before they're considering suicide.
R U OK? Day is held on September 10. Keep your workplace physically and mentally healthy by encouraging your colleagues to take the time to ask each other "Are you okay?"
For more information about managing stress and psychological health in your workplace, be sure to check out our e?-book on workplace stress.