A trending article caught my attention recently. It related the story of a manager who supported a staff member for being open and disclosing the reason for taking a personal leave day was to focus on her mental health. The fact that mental health is still stigmatised in our community and in our workplaces is worrying. It is high time that organisational management understood the value and importance of mental health in the workplace.

When we talk about our wellbeing, mental health is at the core alongside physical health.

To fully grasp the importance of this we only need to look at the evidence and statistics. It is now considered to be 1 in 4 of us who will experience a mental health issue at some point in our lives. There is no room or basis for stigma around mental health when it is so prevalent and important to wellbeing.

Organisational management must understand the impact on productivity and performance of a workplace with poor mental health. Implementing strategies to address this should be top of mind.

CHESS Employment has developed a “Healthy Workplace” educational program to provide the understanding and tools for individuals and employers to address mental health.

Feedback from this program has been extremely positive and highlighted that many wellbeing and work performance issues are masked as other issues and therefore not appropriately addressed. This can lead to job losses and further impact on mental health.

Here at CHESS Employment some of the supports we provide include a “Wellness Wednesday” where staff get a reminder e-mail with links to health tips and practices from good posture to mindfulness exercises. A mental health day is given to all staff to take time away for the specific purpose of engaging in activities that enhance their wellbeing. Staff are also encouraged to take advantage of our Employee Assistance Program, an independent, free and confidential counselling service.

As providers of mental wellness services ourselves, we understand the importance of breaking down stigmas surrounding mental illness and providing a supportive work environment for our staff. Education and understanding are key to this process and this needs to be driven by the leaders within each organisation.

CHESS CEO Paul Kelly is experienced in guiding member owned organisations during periods of industry change and consolidation. His focus for CHESS is on developing and delivering services to highly disadvantaged people and supporting regional growth and community. In his spare time Paul enjoys spending time with his family and surf-life saving.