Mental Health First Aid is not a harm prevention strategy

Courses in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) are increasingly popular in Australia as employers struggle to understand their (new) occupational health and safety (OHS) obligations to provide psychologically safe and healthy work environments. However, MHFA and OHS are fundamentally incompatible.

MHFA is an intervention program, while OHS requires prevention. So, employers who send staff to MHFA intending to comply with their OHS obligations are deluded.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

“10 to 15% of suicides in the working population are attributable to work”

Job strain, job stress, and psychosocial hazards at work have become mainstream if a major public broadcaster produces radio programs and podcasts about them.

On March 15, 2024, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s This Working Life program interviewed Australian experts on job strain. The program offered the latest thinking on the prevalence of this hazard and what to do to prevent it.

Note: This article mentions work-related suicide.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

New Australian film on farming life and mental health

Just a Farmer” is an extraordinary independent Australian film about an all too common occurrence on farms – suicide. The filmmakers have built a strong media profile over the last few months, emphasising the significance of a psychosocial work-related condition. But the film is much more than a film about mental health

Note: this article mentions suicide

There are two possible approaches to this film – a story about the realities of farm life and a depiction of mental ill-health. That both these overlapping approaches are satisfied by this film is a mark of a successful story and production.

The movie opens in over 100 Australian cinema screens on March 21, 2024.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

Let’s talk about work-related suicide

Occupational health and safety (OHS) has been fairly successful in reducing the frequency and numbers of traumatic workplace injuries largely because such injuries cannot be hidden or may occur in front of others and increasingly on video. It is a sad reality that work-related deaths generate change and progress. Sometimes the more deaths, the more significant that change or, the quicker that change occurs. However, it is even sadder that change often requires a death.

Note: this article discusses suicide.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

Mental confusion

Recently, Safe Work Australia published exciting and important data about mental health at work. The data seems to support the assertion that psychosocial hazards at work are a significant risk, but I remain confused. I asked SWA to help unconfuse me and they have tried.

One of the biggest handicaps that occupational health and safety (OHS) has experienced over decades is translating data and research into terms and concepts that the layperson (of which I claim to be) can understand. OHS communication is improving, but more effort is needed.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

Suicide prevention needs more than business as usual

That suicide is related to workplace mental health pressures and illnesses is undisputed, but the more independent analysis on the topic, the more complex the causes become. Sometimes, suicide can be a conscious decision, still due to socioeconomic factors but factors that are not necessarily diagnosed or treated with mental health conditions.

[This article discusses suicide risks]

This reality complicates, and should complicate, strategies for the prevention of suicide. Recently, Australia’s National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) submitted its pre-budget wishlist to the government. This submission included action on suicide and mental health but in traditional ways.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

A curious omission from NY Times well-being article in The Age

Another article reporting on Dr William Fleming’s workplace wellness research appeared recently in the New York Times, reproduced in some Australian newspapers like The Age (not available online). Newspapers are entitled to edit other newspaper’s articles for many reasons. Most tweaks are legitimate, but, in this case, The Age dropped an entire paragraph, which does not reflect the balance of the full NYTimes article.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.
Concatenate Web Development
© Designed and developed by Concatenate Aust Pty Ltd