On Wednesday 14 August 2019, the Health Minister Greg Hunt launched the Long Term Mental Health Plan. I was pleased to read that the government is placing a greater focus on mental well-being. Of particular interest to me as a Mental Health First Aid Instructor, is that they are going to do updated statistics on the impact of mental health concerns. It has been over 12 years since last National Survey of Mental Health & Well-being, so I will be keen see if they are going to find that mental health concerns are on the rise – particularly anxiety and depression.
This extract from the Long Term Mental Health Plan 2019 talks about prevention and the need to talk about mental health problems.
The emphasis will be on prevention, early intervention and recovery. To achieve this, we must reduce the stigma that has traditionally been attached to mental health. Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and psychosis are health problems to be treated and managed, just like diabetes, broken bones or asthma. Talking about mental health concerns and seeking help should be as normal and straightforward as talking about our physical health.
This means that now more than ever, we need to be proactive and do whatever we can to help our mental well-being and that of others.
Families and Friends
Families and friends can turn off the tech and be ‘truly present’ and spend time with each other, face to face. It is very hard to tell how someone is travelling if you can’t physically see them. Did you know that only 7% of what we communicate is the words we use – the rest is our non-verbal cues and the energy we exude?
Managers and Leaders
Managers and leaders can get to know their people. Remember we are all human beings, not robots, and when we walk into the workplace life follows us. I encourage managers and leaders to find out what is happening in the lives of their staff, find out what they are passionate about, what motivates them, how resilient they are.
For organisations, ignoring mental health makes no business sense. Mental ill-health costs Australian workplaces $4.7 billion in absenteeism, $1.6 billion in presenteeism and $146 million in compensation claims per year. Only 22% of full-time workers with signs of common mental illness receive treatment for their mental health problems (Mental Health in the Workplace – mhfa.com.au). I believe, as part of an organisation’s work health and safety obligations, there must be people who are trained to provide mental health first-aid not just physical first aid.
I would suggest that everyone learns the skills of mental health first aid because just like the skill of CPR, doing mental health first aid can save lives.
There is so much that can be done in the prevention and early intervention space regarding mental health but it requires effort from everyone, not just the government. If we don’t do more now our mental well-being will continue to decline and our suicide rates will continue to rise.
Find out more
To find out how you can determine your motivators, how resilient you are or if you want to learn mental health first aid email firstname.lastname@example.org or book a discovery call here.