Thursday 13 September is National R U OK? Day.
R U OK? Day is a national mental health day on the second Thursday of September to encourage Australians to connect with their colleagues/employees by asking them: Are you okay?
One in five people experience depression at some point in their lives. That means that approximately 4 million Australians will suffer from depression. More than 2,000 Australians suicide each year. Depression is the most common mental illness, followed closely by anxiety. Approximately 7 percent of Australian employees in any organisation suffer from depression each year.
So chances are that at least one person at each workplace may be suffering from a mental health problem right now.
Work stress can be a large contributor to mental health problems. Stress and depression are the largest contributors to lost productivity in Australia. A study by Medibank Private revealed that workplace stress is responsible for a loss of 2.14 working days per employee annually, which equates to a cost of $533 per employee.
Given that a large number of people spend most of their time at work, it makes sense for workplaces to be the focus of mental health strategies.
In 2010, 7000 organisations formally participated in the R U OK? Workplace Initiative, and in 2011 one in five Australians got involved. There are a number of ways that workplaces can get involved, but the basic idea is to engage with people in the workplace and check on their mood and whether they are grappling with work-related or other issues. Most people find it hard to open up and share their feelings, particularly men.
It is hoped that this great initiative will raise awareness and encourage stress and mental health to be an ongoing focus in workplaces. This can be difficult however, particularly in large organisations, due to time restrictions, multiple demands placed on managers, lack of knowledge about issues faced by employees and how to respond to these, to name just a few.
While it would be fantastic if managers or HR representatives could have individual conversations with all employees on a regular basis, this is not always feasible.
Employee surveys are an efficient way of gathering information from a large group of employees on issues that may contribute to their mental health, including stress, burnout, work-life balance and job satisfaction.
The RightPeople Employee Attitudes & Commitment Surveys do just that. These research-based based surveys have been developed by psychologists and academics using key constructs from the organisational psychology literature and cover a wide range of issues and factors that contribute to creating and sustaining a happy, engaged workforce.
The results can be used to help develop training programs or health and safety initiatives. Initiatives specifically targeted at mental health can be developed or modified on the basis of the results, such as Employee Assistant Programs, work-life balance programs and so on.
People are your most important asset. Contact us to find out more about how you can use our Employee Attitudes & Commitment Surveys to check if your employees’ R OK.