Combat depression and save money with a "moodometer" and resilience programs
Employers should consider introducing a "moodometer" and resilience programs in an effort to combat employee depression - which is costing Australian business billions of dollars each year, according to best-selling author of Back from the Brink and depression sufferer Graeme Cowan.
Building resilience"Everyone has the potential to slide down the mood scale," Cowan says. They need to "build resilience" so they don't stay down there too long.
Many employees are reluctant to discuss mental health issues with their leaders, he says, but employers can help their workers build resilience through encouraging "conscious actions and a change of mindset".
Cowan says that there are five core principles "crucial to mindset". These are:
"Fulfilling work is really important to people's mental health."
Mental health a line-management issueAlso speaking at the breakfast were Black Dog Institute executive director Professor Gordon Parker, and former leader of the NSW Opposition, John Brogden.
According to Parker, it is "inappropriate" for HR to be held responsible for the mental health of employees.
HR is there primarily for legal reasons, or to "take an authoritarian role", Parker says, and referring a worker with depressive symptoms to HR is like marching a school student to the principal.
Line managers, he says, should take responsibility for mental health issues among their staff.
Awareness critical"Managers and employees have to treat mental illness as seriously as they would treat physical injury," says Brogden, who has also battled depression.
"People have to take responsibility for their illness," he says. "They have to get off their backside."
However, Brogden notes that workplace awareness is critical.
Employees have to be aware that they have a problem, he says, before they can do something about it.
What to look forAccording to Cowen, symptoms of depression include a lack of sleep, a feeling of isolation, a reluctance to be social and a drop in productivity.
Workers should be concerned for colleagues who have lost their usual sense of humour, have become socially withdrawn, who stare into space, and are increasingly absent.
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