Sharing AHRI’s article: What the Productivity Commission draft mental health report says about work.

What the Productivity Commission draft mental health report says about work. Thanks AHRI, we’re sharing your article with our followers. In its new draft report on mental health, the Productivity Commission estimates that mental ill-health and suicide is costing the Australian economy between $43-$51 billion per year. Lower economic participation and lost productivity makes up $10-$18 billion of that. A further $130 billion is the estimated cost to individuals with mental ill-health due to diminished health and wellbeing.

The report itself makes reference to Safe Work NSW’s guide. The report contains five recommendations in this section.

  1. Psychological health and safety should be given the same importance in workplace health and safety (WHS) laws as physical health and safety. This would mean updating some of Australia’s WHS legislation and regulation. This should happen in the next two years.
  2. Codes of practice on employer’s duty of care should be developed by different WHS authorities and Safe Work Australia to help employers meet their duty of care. It should take into account the different risk profiles of different industries and occupations. This should happen in the next two years.
  3. Workers compensation schemes should provide lower premiums for employers who have initiatives and programs that their WHS authority considers “highly likely to reduce the risks of workplace related psychological injury and mental illness for that specific workplace”. This should happen over the next two-five years.
  4. Workers compensation schemes should be amended to provide treatment for workers making mental health claims, regardless of liability, until the person returns to work or after six months. This should happen in the next two years. The Productivity Commission is seeking information on how this should be funded.
  5. WHS agencies should assess employer initiated interventions to create mentally healthy workplaces then advise other employers about what is effective. This should happen over the next two to five years.

If any readers have thoughts on any of the above, we encourage them to discuss in the comments and/or get in touch with the Productivity Commission. Written submissions are requested by 23 January 2020. Go to the website for more information.

Asking RUOK? and listening with care, can turn lives around.

Asking RUOK? and Listening with Care, can turn lives around. It can save lives.  “Are you okay?” These three little words can make such a difference in someone’s life.  As we know a sense of connection, belonging and genuine care are incredibly important to our wellbeing. Taking the time to notice, and to ask our colleagues, friends and family how they really are, is integral to help build and nurture these connections.

So, what gets in the way for people reaching out and asking the question? We get busy and involved in what is happening in our own lives, which stops us from pausing and noticing what is going on with those around us. Another reason we often hear is, ‘I may make the person feel worse’ or ‘its not really my place and I don’t want to interfere’. Others may think that ‘someone else will step up and check in’.

As psychologist’s, we are in a unique position to understand what a person really wants when they are struggling… What we hear, over and over, is that genuine care, compassion and connection is the key. It’s not whether a person has exactly the right words to say or if they are the closest to me.  So, take the time, pause, notice and make a difference.

MORE about RUOK? Day. RUOK? is a suicide prevention charity that aims to start life-changing conversations. They want to create a more connected world.


Effective Ways to Introduce Mindfulness and its Benefits to the Workplace

Effective Ways to Introduce Mindfulness and its Benefits to the Workplace – our 90-minute workshop at the Workplace Mental Health Symposium (Brisbane, 2-3 Sept 2019).

We are pleased to be able to contribute to this inaugural event by The Australian & New Zealand Mental Health Association, which is designed to educate and promote a 360 degree approach to mental health in the workplace.

Below is an overview of our session, and a link (here) to the full program with a great line up of topics, experts and conversations, including 9 keynote presentations from a range of organisations focused on creating and sustaining mentally healthy workplaces. These include; Deakin University, Gold Coast Hospital and Health, FCW Lawyers, Springday, Energy Queensland, mwah, MindFit at Work and eMHPrac.


Mindfulness has become increasingly popular and for good reasons… it’s not a fad, it’s revealing long lasting benefits. While the benefits of mindfulness are already realised and practiced by many, a significant proportion of the workforce just don’t have a sense of what it is; how easy it can be; and how it is a real tool to achieving organisational outcomes. This is an engaging and interactive session demonstrating brief exercises that are mobile and discreet. Tips covered include: how to demystify mindfulness, transferring mindfulness into everyday life, making it mobile, how to appeal to different workplace cultures, how to increase the likelihood that employees practice mindfulness. Kash will share examples of how mindfulness can be introduced to blue-collar and white-collar workforces, and how it can be linked to safety and situational awareness. Kash will field questions about the research and utility of mindfulness in terms of how it can enhance employee productivity, attention regulation, resilience and wellbeing and how mindfulness training can form a ready component of a mentally healthy workplace program. Additionally, delegates may be curious about the applications of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapies in assisting employees with mental health issues including stress, depression and anxiety. The session aims to be informative and enjoyable.

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WORLD WELLBEING WEEK 2019: Wellbeing Awareness Check-in!

WORLD WELLBEING WEEK 2019: Wellbeing Awareness Check-in! World WellBeing Week promotes an overall awareness for the various aspects of wellbeing, including social, physical, emotional, financial, career, community and environmental wellbeing.

So here is a quick wellbeing awareness check-in for you personally and also for workplace leaders to consider the very same questions…

  • Do you have a way of checking your (workplace) wellbeing status (that you’re well or doing well)?
  • Do you spend dedicated time planning and working on your (workplace) wellbeing goals?
  • Do you have reliable tactics and methods for improving and maintaining your (workplace) wellbeing?
  • Do you know what your (workplace) attitude is to seeking help and proactively managing wellbeing?
  • Do you have a trusted advisor who you can talk to about your (workplace) wellbeing?

If you can answer YES to these questions, you’re more likely to be aware of what you need and ready for positive change. Building self-awareness is essential for self-care and self-development.  Qualified professionals can help you on your way.  For a Mental Health Awareness Check-in for your Workplace, you can ASK YES.

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New Toolkits for Workplace Wellbeing & Designing Good Work.

Everyone, and every workplace culture is a little different. So even great Toolkits for Workplace Wellbeing & Designing Good Work need some tailoring to suit you. Need help leading mental health and tailoring a program?  We’re happy to talk and share ideas.  It was a delight to hear today’s speakers at the WayAhead Workplaces meeting share current and soon-to-be-released tools for designing good work that supports the wellbeing, safety and health of employees.

Alison Abbott, Principal Advisor and Emma Leyden, Principal Advisor, Healthy Workers Initiative, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, Office of Industrial Relations, speaking on “How to Achieve Work Health and Wellbeing Outcomes by Designing Good Work”.

New toolkit coming in May 2019, with a healthy workplaces survey (audit checklist) and healthy worker survey – stay tuned.

Katherine Winlaw, Manager Workforce Futures & Inclusion, Public Service Commission Queensland, speaking on “Activating the Be healthy, be safe, be well Framework in the Queensland Public Sector”.

Also for good measure, this excellent Mentally Health Workplaces toolkit by WHS QLD.

MORE INFORMATION: mentally healthy workplace?  ASK YES.

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Age & Work

Age & Work. It was fantastic to attend the inaugural Age & Work Symposium in Brisbane. Some excellent wake up calls about the implications of longevity, the silent revolution, doing it differently and reframing conversations about ageing. The concepts of FREEDOM, individual pathways, managing transitions (versus retirement) and advocacy really struck a chord with me.  The research, statistics and myths around the ageing workforce, wellbeing and what people want and need were very enlightening.  In the words of symposium organisers…

We need a different conversation.

It is time to celebrate longevity.

Thanks to the Symposium organisers – Katrina Walton and Geoff Pearman.  Leading the way in the conversation about Australia and New Zealand’s ageing population and workforce are Symposium organisers, Partners in Change and Wellness Designstwo companies with a shared objective; to embrace the challenges of workforce ageing and celebrate longevity.