MENTAL HEALTH TRAINING


Mental wellbeing is a major challenge for the Australian community and Australian business.

Among advanced economies, Australia has among the highest rates of depression, anxiety, chronic substance misuse, self-harm (and suicide) and other stress-related disorders.

Work stress, demanding workloads, exposure to trauma, excessive hours, failings in organisational culture and work systems, and poor interpersonal relationships (bullying, intimidation, harassment) are strongly identified with the development and incidence of these disorders.

Failure to recognise and correctly manage this risk is bad for morale, bad for workplace relationships and bad for business. It also risks exposure to adverse action under The Fair Work Act (2009) and the Work Health and Safety Act (2011).

But a business that protects and promotes mental health, through its culture, management practices and policies and through the values it projects is more productive, … etc

The “happiness quotient” is a bottom-line issue.

OUR TRAINING PROGRAMS

This training examines the impact on mental health of negative workplace behaviours, of poor work culture, organisational failure and poor work systems.

It also examines the benefits to productivity and engagement and to the mental health outcomes of individuals of a mentally healthy workplace with good work systems, alert management, and a supportive work culture.

By doing this training, participants will have an increased awareness and understating of their roles and responsibilities in creating and contributing to a mentally healthy workplace. Participants will also be equipped to recognise stress reactions, anxiety, depression and other disorders in themselves and in others, and strategies for help and support.

Key topics include:

  • Work stress, facts and figures on psychological injury, its social and economic impacts
  • Work stress travels: its ‘after hours’ effects (sleep disorders, anxiety) and family and community impacts of mentally unhealthy workplaces 
  • Examining stress triggers: work overload, poor work culture, lack of support, excessive hours, unreasonable demands (among other triggers)
  • The negative health impacts of stress on the body, on emotional and mental health 
  • Bullying, harassment, incivility, marginalisation: its dangers; links to mental injury
  • Features of a mentally healthy workplace – how to achieve it.
  • ‘The work environment’; establishing positive norms and dynamics, building a culture of respect 
  • Practicing ‘mindfulness’; being alert to boundaries, respect for difference 
  • Importance of relational justice, recognition, role clarity and ‘fairness’ (dispute resolution processes)
  • Importance of leadership, support and positive organisational response action on work overload, excessive hours 
  • The ‘happiness quotient’, productivity and ‘bottom line’ benefits 
  • Understanding anxiety, PTSD, depression – links to substance misuse, chronic gambling and other disorders
  • Fostering a supportive and engaged ‘speak up’ workplace culture 
  • Setting up a ‘buddy system’ in high-stress environments (and for ‘frontline’ personnel) 
  • Strategies and skills for identifying depression, anxiety and other stress disorders and for getting a conversation going, for providing support and referral 
  • Personal strategies for building emotional resilience 
  • Understanding and recognising symptoms of suicide and self-harm
  • Suicide prevention – how to provide support; help and referral services available

Workplace Benefits

A mentally healthy workplace that models positive behaviours and an open consultative workplace culture will benefit from improved productivity, morale and satisfaction (and reduced absenteeism, turnover and business costs) and reduced risk of mental injury, anxiety, depression and other disorders.

Who should do this training?

This training is for everyone at the workplace. 

Why should they do it?

Employers have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to ensure a workplace free from risk of both psychological and physical injury. This includes ensuring that employees, as well as managers and team leaders, are aware of their obligations and responsibilities under the WHS Management Plan.

Bullying at work – overbearing demands, verbal abuse, unwanted attention, discrimination and harassment – is strongly linked to depression and anxiety.

But it’s the law: organisations must take all reasonable steps to prevent bullying and unwelcome behaviours at work. To feel safe when at work is everyone’s right. 

But what are bullying behaviours? This training examines definitions of bullying, covert and overt, and employer and employee obligations under The Fair Work Act (2009). It also examines rights to be respected, to courteous interactions (with colleagues and management), to boundaries in personal engagements, to freedom from unwanted attention, and to freedom from intimidation and marginalisation. 

Participants will also learn the benefits to morale, productivity and engagement from positive modelling, respect, mindfulness and effective leadership.

Two-hour workshop:

  • Bullying and harassment: definitions; and why it is toxic to morale and productivity
  • Casual bullying: covert and overt harassment, incivility, marginalisation, sexist or racist ‘jokes’, leering, offensive actions, spreading gossip: how these behaviours are dangerous to mental health and toxic to morale and productivity 
  • Systemic bullying: aggressive management, hostility, humiliation (public and private) unreasonable demands, lack of support, shouting, belittling 
  • Identifying elevated risk factors for bullying and harassment – apprentices, junior staff, women, cultural minorities – and strategies to prevent it
  • Importance of respect, mentoring, communication and vigilance
  • Examining links to psychological distress, depression and anxiety disorders (and substance and behavioural disorders)
  • Examining productivity impacts, absenteeism and staff turnover
  • The Fair Work Act (2009); your rights at work (freedom from fear, aggressive behaviours, harassment), protections and recourse under The Act.
  • Creating and managing healthy workplace relationships, establishing positive norms
  • Managing diversity; what it means in the mentally healthy workplace
  • Setting boundaries, respecting boundaries
  • Effective management: leading by example, taking action, modelling positive behaviours, establishing positive norms.


Part of this training will also involve creating common workplace scenarios and discussion and examination of potential responses for positive outcomes (individual and management response – through improved practices, systems and procedures.)

Who should do this training?

This training is for everyone at the workplace. It is especially suited to workplace environments with higher risk of exposure to bullying – where apprentices and younger workers take direction from co-workers, in construction and male dominated workplaces, in ‘ego-driven’ environments (such as in advertising and competitive sales).

Why should they do it?

Being aware of risk – of hazardous behaviours and practices – “is everyone’s responsibility”. So too, creating and maintaining positive norms and relationships, and ‘zero tolerance’ to bullying behaviours, benefits everyone at work.

Workplace benefits:

This training, in raising awareness of the damage of negative behaviours, in promoting positive norms and relationships and an open and consultative workplace culture, can also improve productivity and satisfaction when at work.

Training for managers, team leaders, HR personnel

People in leadership roles, or who aspire to leadership roles, have special responsibilities and legal obligations when it comes to supporting and maintaining a mentally healthy workplace. So too, they have special responsibilities and legal obligations to ensure that people are not subject to negative behaviours, poor organisational culture, and unreasonable pressures and demands. 

This training is to ensure that your managers and team leaders can ‘walk the talk’ – that they inspire and lead by example in creating and maintaining a mentally healthy workplace. 

It will also provide strategies for managing people in higher stress environments, for recognising symptoms of stress, overload or mood affective disorders, for building understanding of stress-related injury, and provide strategies for approaching, assisting and providing referral advice to those showing signs of psychological injury or mental illness.

Full day or two half-day workshops

Module 1: The Regulatory Environment; Employer Obligations under The Fair Work Act (2009) and Work Health and Safety Act (2011)

  • Analysis and examination of compliance obligations around mental wellbeing at work
  • The incidence of mood-affective disorders (depression, anxiety), their personal, social, business and economic cost
  • Understanding higher risk work environments; exposure to trauma, frontline roles, duty of care (around PTSD risk and other anxiety disorders)
  • Bottom line costs: workers’ compensation, absenteeism, presenteeism, staff turnover, productivity loss
  • Examination: Fair Work Act (2009), and Work Health and Safety Act (2011), role of the Ombudsman
  • Consequences of inaction: exposure to risk, litigation, prosecution for breach (under The Act)

Module 2: Psychological Injury, What is it? Why is it my concern?

  • Examining stress triggers: poor work culture, lack of support, excessive hours, unreasonable demands (among other triggers)
  • Bullying, harassment, incivility, marginalisation: what is it? Its dangers; links to mental injury
  • Work stress travels: its ‘after hours’ effects (sleep disorders, anxiety) and family and community impacts of mentally unhealthy workplaces 
  • Features of a mentally healthy workplace – how to achieve it.
  • Importance of relational justice, recognition, role clarity and ‘fairness’ (dispute resolution processes)
  • The ‘happiness quotient’, productivity and ‘bottom line’ benefits, 
  • Understanding anxiety, PTSD, depression – links to substance misuse, chronic gambling and other disorders
  • Identifying stress reactions and behaviours; what to look for, how to respond (personal and organisational response)
  • Understanding and recognising symptoms of suicide and self-harm ideation
  • Suicide prevention – strategies and skills for getting a ‘conversation’ going, for providing support and referral

Module 3: Building a positive culture

  • Conducting an examination of work culture (at your workplace); where to start, opening discussion, getting ‘buy in’ and commitment 
  • Identifying and managing risk factors (excessive hours, bullying, unreasonable demands, job insecurity, etc.)
  • Strategies for establishing positive norms and behaviours, building a culture of mindfulness and respect
  • Promoting ‘mindfulness’; awareness (of the impact of conscious and unconscious behaviours), respecting boundaries and difference
  • Embracing difference; managing relationships and diversity
  • Building resilience, fostering a supportive and engaged ‘speak up’ workplace culture
  • The role of effective communication, of effective listening, of respecting capability, of consultation in protecting against psychological injury
  • The importance of monitoring, of being alert to system failures, to excessive hours, unhealthy rostering demands, of unreasonable pressure
  • Assisting colleagues and employees at risk: knowing when to act, how to take action, how to start a conversation
  • Strategies for personal resilience; keeping yourself well, being alert to personal stress responses and behaviours

(As part of this module, participants will work together to respond to a range of scenarios: “What do you do about…?” Problem solving discussion groups, report back, share positive strategies, successful outcomes.)

Module 4: Features and benefits of a ‘mentally healthy workplace’

  • A mentally healthy workplace: how do you know? What does it look like? What is the evidence that things are well?
  • An unhealthy workplace: how do you know? What does it look like? What are the clues that things are not well?
  • Create a vision statement for a ‘mentally healthy work environment’ for your workplace: what will it say?  
  • Making mental health a priority: organisational health, training and support, the physical environment, role clarity and empowerment, valuing input, consultation and ‘a work team’ climate
  • Impacts of good mental health management on absenteeism, presenteeism, compensation payments and claims, morale, productivity

Module 5: Change Management and the Role of Leadership (incorporating group tasks)

  • Fostering positive workplace cultures and work systems
  • Inspiring change; how to ‘walk the talk’ – leadership strategies for fostering respect, for positive modelling, for inspiring and leading by example
  • Ensuring that effective organisational systems and management practices are in place to protect against mental injury
  • How to conduct a workplace mental health ‘HEALTH CHECK’: identifying pressure points, training needs, system flaws, organisational response 
  • Creating a Workplace Mental Health ‘risk and solutions’ MATRIX targeted to your workplace

Workplace benefits

A mentally healthy workplace provides clear bottom line benefits through improved morale, improved engagement and commitment, improved productivity, and reduced business cost. Ensuring that your managers and team leaders can ‘walk the talk’ on mental health and on inspiring positive behavioural norms is all upside. 

Effective leadership on mental health is good for your people; it can save lives.

Who should do this training?

This training is for managers and team leaders, or people with an eye to leadership roles.

Why should they do it?

Being alert to psychological hazard, in the same way as leaders are bound to be alert to physical hazard, is a clear legal obligation under the Work Health and Safety Act (2011) and The Fair Work Act (2009). Failure to act can expose an organisation to serious, and costly, adverse legal action. 

In higher risk work environments, the enhanced duty of care imposes special obligations on team leaders, managers and effective organisational response.

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