According to Stats NZ Tatauranga Aotearoa, nearly 1 in 4 New Zealand adults (aged 18 and over) experience 'poor' mental wellbeing on the World Health Organisation's WHO-5 scale. Untreated mental health conditions cost New Zealand employers roughly $12 billion every year through absenteeism, reduced productivity, and insurance claims. But the good news is that for every $1 invested in effective mental health initiatives there is a return of $2.30.
To help employers invest in health and safety and mental health initiatives for their workplace, we’ve put together five tips worth employing for building a mentally healthy work environment.
Physical and mental health - Equally as important
Mental and physical health is fundamentally linked. There are multiple associations between mental health and physical health that significantly impact people’s quality of life, demands on health care and other publicly funded services.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Make sure your managers understand that they should treat mental injuries as seriously as they do physical injuries.
Consider workplace flexibility and job designs
With developments in technology and employers gaining a greater understanding of work-life balance, there’s never been a more important time to consider flexible working arrangements. When employers can accommodate changes to hours of work (such as changes to start and finish times), patterns of work (such as shifts or job sharing) and locations of work (such as working from home or different offices) it can significantly and positively impact the mental and physical health of an employee, not to mention productivity.
create awareness and understanding across the workplace
According to the Wellplace, ‘A sustainable organisation has a positive work environment that supports people to be physically and psychologically healthy. It does that by managing any issues of mental health well, and promoting mentally healthy behaviours. "
Keen to kick start your organisation’s path towards a mentally healthy workplace? Review our lists of reasons to invest in and prioritise mental health in the workplace. You can also find more information on the strategies and tactics necessary to support and ensure the wellbeing of your employees with our Psychological First Aid Training.
remove the stigma associated with mental illness
Workplaces that encourage and support conversations about stress and struggles can help alleviate possible stigma that has traditionally been associated with mental illness.
If you would like to have a discussion with GB about workplace health and what action plans are available to improve the mental health and wellbeing of your workplace, contact us today.
Disclaimer: The advice and guidelines recommended in this article may change in the future as more and new information becomes available.