Pandemic shines spotlight on mental health in the workplace

October 1, 2020 BY

COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of mental health support in the workplace.

THE Give Where You Live Learning Network is continuing its efforts to improve workplace mental health amid the challenges posed by COVID-19.

WorkSafe’s WorkWell Learning Networks promote mental health and wellbeing through changing workplace practices and cultures.

Earlier this year, the Give Where You Live Foundation (GWYL) created the Give Where You Live Learning Network to focus on making workplace changes within small businesses, which can lack the resources needed to help employees with their mental health.

Since its formation, the network has worked with 15 businesses across the G21 region to assist designing resources supporting mental wellness in the workplace.

G21 Regional Opportunities for Work (GROW) engagement officer Liz Everist said participating businesses had shown great commitment to the program during trying times.

“The level of engagement has been really good. I’ve actually been very surprised.”

The network was able to hold one in-person session with the participating businesses but has since been restricted to communicating exclusively online.

The co-designed resources will later be made available to the wider workforce. The resources range from fact sheets on creating an inclusive workplace and resolving employer complaints, to interactive stories on people’s experiences in the workplace.

Encompass Community Services special projects officer Marejka Knigge said it had been beneficial for the company to be part of the project.

“The GWYL Learning Network has been an incredible opportunity for Encompass Community Services Inc to work collaboratively and enable us to showcase The Paddock and the wonderful initiatives we are implementing for our community.'”

Ms Everist said working with businesses had likewise provided great insight.

“What we have discerned was that people wanted to connect and hear from real people and hear real stories.”

Ms Everist said while COVID-19 had created difficulties for the network, it had also helped highlight the importance of supporting mental health in the workplace.

“It has become such a critical issue and has meant that mental health in the workplace has affected everyone, from people new to the workforce to the CEOs. It’s been a great leveller.

“There have been some changes but if we can make workplaces safe during COVID-19, let’s make them safe forever.

“Mental health support is not just a nice thing to have, it’s something we need to have.”

Businesses interested in getting involved with the network or people with a story to tell on mental wellness in the workplace can email [email protected].

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