Not for profit Australian health and well-being agency beyondblue, has launched three new online programs to help Australians understand and tackle depression and anxiety in the workplace.
beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell said while millions of Australians are looking forward to a break these holidays, no workplace should be so stressful that people can’t wait to get out of there.
“I would encourage managers and workers to check out these three new online programs, which will help them understand when colleagues‟ out-of-character or stressed behaviour could be a sign of depression or anxiety,” she said.
Ms Carnell said the free programs, which are accessed online via the beyondblue website, offer interactive activities and real-life video stories to help workers recognise symptoms of depression and anxiety, look after their own mental health and that of their colleagues who may be experiencing problems.
“If your workplace is a little quieter in the run-up to Christmas or in January, managers in all types of jobs should encourage staff to spend half an hour looking at these programs,” she said.
“Helping someone with depression or anxiety to get the help they need could be the best gift you could give this Christmas. It is a time when the mental health of some is under extra strain due to things such as having to attend family functions, and the expense of presents and celebrations, which makes the release of these programs particularly timely.”
Ms Carnell said while people’s mental health problems may be the result of influences outside work, it has an impact on their productivity and relationships with colleagues because they cannot leave their illness at home.
“Research shows that around one million Australians are experiencing depression right now while two million have an anxiety disorder,” she said. “When workers experiencing depression or anxiety get the help they need there are huge knock-on benefits for workplaces as motivation improves, sick days are reduced and productivity grows.”
The three online programs beyondblue has launched are titled What it's like? – Personal stories of depression, Perspectives – Returning to work following a mental health problem and How to have a conversation: discussing mental health in the workplace.
Ms Carnell encouraged managers and employees to visit a new website www.returntowork.net.au for further information about how to help a person returning to work after experiencing a mental health problem.