Mental Health Consultant
Reserve Bank of Australia
What are you/your organisation currently focusing on in terms of workplace health and wellbeing?
As the Mental Health Consultant, I am responsible for developing programs that create a mentally healthy workplace. I am currently focused on implementing educational programs that increase mental health literacy of people leaders and employees. I have also been working closely with managers to increase leadership capabilities in providing effective and responsive employee management practices to promote and protect workplace wellbeing.
A new focus has been the implementation of a Peer Support Network of staff trained in mental health first aid, and skilled in providing assistance with a mental health concern or crisis in the workplace.
What aspect of workplace health and wellbeing does your organisation do well in?
The commitment from senior leaders for workplace mental health, as evidenced by the employment of a dedicated position to create programs to improve mental health and wellbeing, manage risks to psychological health and prevent psychological injuries.
Another positive aspect has been the establishment of an employee consultative group early in my planning, to provide input at every step of the program, from goal identification, action development, through to implementation and evaluation. This has been crucial for the success of the program. In addition, it has been a joy working with passionate and committed staff to help drive key messages across the Bank. The employee consultative group has been a great support and advocate for workplace mental health.
What’s your biggest challenge working in workplace health and wellbeing?
Keeping the initiatives fresh and interesting, and sustaining the enthusiasm can be difficult especially when you’re competing with other initiatives within the organisation.
Another challenge is making sure the initiatives are the right fit, and capture the diversity of employees in different stages of their career and life. Creating a range of programs to suit the diversity of our workforce that reaches all employees is a challenge.
How does WayAhead Workplaces add value to your organisation’s health and wellbeing program?
I have been a member for many years and have found the network a place of support and inspiration. It has provided me with access to a network of industry experts and an avenue to connect with others passionate about creating work environments that support workplace health and wellbeing.
How do you deal with stress?
My stress busters are exercise and surrounding myself with family and friends that are supportive, encouraging, accepting and fun. I also try to take a walk during the work day as I find this is the best way to help recharge my batteries and keep my energy levels high.
What are the key issues and considerations for people in workplace health and wellbeing roles?
Encouraging mental health conversations in the workplace and ensuring these experiences are positively received and supported by the workplace, while balancing confidentiality and the ongoing issue of stigma.
How do you switch off from work?
Deliberately leaving work at work and regular exercise built into specific days and times of the week. I find that I’m less likely to drop exercise when it is part of a routine. Also, having a friend to exercise with is a great motivator and helps maintain my commitment. I find it harder to say ‘no’ to exercise when I have someone else telling me ‘yes’.
What is your best time-saving tip?
I plan my day, write a list and tackle one task at a time. This helps me break tasks into small achievable actions that are reviewed at the end of the day. I get a sense of achievement when I can physically mark them off a page. Without these, and the use of a diary, I would be lost.
What do you think the future of work health and wellness programs look like?
A future where:
- Workplaces and their leaders see mental health and wellbeing as just part of the everyday work culture and an essential element to having a successful business
- Leadership competencies are measured by how well people leaders support the health and wellbeing of their staff and teams
- Workplaces hold equal importance (and understanding) for mental and physical wellbeing.