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Mental Health Interventions in the Workplace Research

PSB Solutions - Monday, July 18, 2016

What are the Attitudes and Perceptions of Mental Health Interventions in the Workplace?

Our Research in Conjunction with Murdoch University

PSB Solutions, in conjunction with Murdoch University are conducting research into the very important topic of mental health within the workplace. We are exploring the perceived effectiveness of mental health interventions in the workplace from the perspective of the employee. This study is focused on understanding what interventions (both preventative and remedial) employees find worthwhile and are more likely to use.

Value for Industry

The value in conducting this research for industry is that the outcomes of this study can be used to help inform organisations as to what interventions and resources employees value and believe to work to help guide more effective mental health strategies in the future.

Why is Mental Health a Growing Concern?

Over the past couple of decades, mental health has become an increasingly pertinent topic, with many people attempting to develop better ways to support and improve mental health. This is for good reason as roughly half of the general population will at some point in their lives experience a mental health condition[i]. While mental health conditions can result from a number of different factors, such as genetic or social factors, the workplace is often quoted as a significant stressor relating to mental health[ii]. The negative influence that workplaces can have on the mental health of their employees can then impact the organisation itself with these employees sometimes becoming less productive and more likely to be absent from work[iii]. It is therefore important that organisations do all they can to support mental health for both their employees and the business itself. The provision of workplace mental health interventions and resources is a popular way that many organisations choose to do this.

Types of Workplace Mental Health Interventions and Resources

There are a number of different types of mental health interventions and resources that organisations are currently using to help support and improve the mental health of their employees. Here are some typical interventions explained below.

Employee Assistance Programs or EAPs are arguably the most popular form of mental health support that Australian organisations are currently providing. It traditionally involves providing counselling services designed to assist with both personal and work-related issues that may impact an employee’s health and well-being.  It is a reactive intervention that is often more beneficial to those already suffering from mental health or well-being difficulties.  Due to the ability to outsource this service it is an attractive option for many organisations.

Education and Training is another very popular approach to supporting mental health in the workplace. It can focus on a variety of different mental health topics such as supporting your own mental health, resiliency and mindfulness. As opposed to an EAP, the provision of mental health education and training also works as a preventative measure for those who are not experiencing mental health. 

Health and Well-being Programs can come in many different forms but all fundamentally aim to support and improve the health and well-being of employees. This can include anything that an organisation decides would be beneficial but will often include initiatives like gym memberships, healthy eating strategies, and quit smoking programs. Like education and training, health and well-being programs are beneficial for the mental health of both employees suffering from mental health difficulties and those who do not.

Along with those that are mentioned above, there are a number of other interventions that organisations are also using to support mental health in the workplace. These other interventions include things like peer support programs, coaching, chaplaincy programs, and return to work programs.

Mental Health Research – Want to get involved?

While many organisations value the mental health of their employees and implement interventions to support it, there is a surprising lack of research into how these interventions are perceived and what value they are actually bringing to an organisation. For this reason PSB Solutions, in conjunction with Murdoch University, are conducting a research study into those workplace interventions and resources that are used to support their employee mental health and well-being. The aim of this study is to help understand what the work force values and perceives to be effective in supporting their mental health.

For more information, or if you would like to participate in the study, please contact us on (08) 6272 3900 or email us at info@psbsolutions.com.au.

References

[i] Slade, T., Johnston, A., Oakley Browne, M. A., Andrews, G., & Whiteford, H. (2009). 2007 national survey of mental health and wellbeing: Methods and key findings. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 43(7), 594-605.

[ii] Beyond Blue (2014). State of workplace mental health in Australia. Retrieved from: https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/bl1270-report---tns-the-state-of-mental-health-in-australian-workplaces-hr.pdf?sfvrsn=6 . Retrieved on 11th of July 2016. 

[iii] Kessler, R. C., Akiskal, H. S., Ames, M., Birnbaum, H., Greenberg, P., Hirschfield, R. M., Jin, R, Merikangas, K. R., Simon, G. R., & Wang, P. S. (2006). Prevalence and effects of mood disorders on work performance in a nationally representative sample of US workers. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163(9), 1561-1568.

 

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