Royal Commission into Mental Health

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The Victorian Government has instigated a Royal Commission into Mental Health. At the moment it is receiving submissions to assist it in developing the Terms of Reference. This is an odd process that delays the Commission’s start and is giving the impression that the Commission has already commenced.

However, it is important that occupational health and safety (OHS) advocates become deeply involved in this Royal Commission as psychological harm in the workplace, and caused by the workplace, is a hazard that employers are obliged to try to eliminate. If the workplace context of mental health is not overtly included in the Commission’s Terms of Reference, we will miss a major opportunity for the changes required to prevent psychological incidents and will likely remain with only the symptomatic relief offered by most workplace wellbeing strategies and products.

On the Submissions website, I prioritised “Prevention and Early Intervention” and the “Prevent of Suicide” as my top priorities and make these concise suggestions.

Are there any additional themes that should be included in the terms of reference for the Royal Commission into Mental Health?

It is vital that the issue of Prevention is included in the terms of reference as investment in and attention to prevention has been shown to be the best way to achieve the most return on investment.

The workplace health and safety context should also be mentioned as work can create psychological harm but can also have benefits by providing people with a purpose as well as an independent income.

I encourage all SafetyAtWorkBlog readers who are concerned about workplace psychosocial hazards to visit the submission web page so that the Commission understands the importance that occupational health and safety has in preventing harm.

Kevin Jones

Action demanded on sexual harassment in the entertainment industry

On 12 December 2017, part of Australia’s screen and television industry held a forum in Sydney about sexual harassment in the sector and what could be done to reduce this workplace hazard. This initiative occurred a day before an open letter was published about sexual harassment in the music industry.  There is a momentum for change on sexual harassment in the workplace, but it is at risk of resulting in a fragmented approach which will generate turf wars, confusion and, ultimately, ineffectiveness.

The

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Suicide and OHS media campaigns should achieve tangible outcomes

Don’t jump rock cliff at Sydney, Australia

The benefits of advertising are notoriously difficult to quantify unless there is a specific product being promoted.  Advertising about occupational health and safety (OHS) is usually measured in the level of awareness of the viewers with questions such as

  • Are you aware of WorkSafe?
  • What does WorkSafe do?
  • When we mention WorkSafe to you, what do you think of?

But as with wellbeing initiatives, awareness does not always, some would say rarely, generate action; and action that affects real change.

Recently several Australian researchers looked at some of the existing studies around media campaigns on the prevention of

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New workplace wellbeing report is what it is

Converge and Reventure launched their latest research report into workplace wellbeing on 23 November 2017.  The report, not yet available online, is based round a survey of just over 1000 Australians comprising over 80% full-time or part-time employees,  The report has been produced as a guide for businesses and may be of some interest to health and safety people but is of limited application.

Definition

Most research reports include a clear statement of the aim of the research or a definition of the concept being investigated. 

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Mind Set – Mental Health in Australian Workplaces

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[This article was written by Helen Borger and was first published in the May-June 2014 edition of National Safety – a magazine of the National Safety Council of Australia.  Reproduced with permission. (Links added by SafetyAtWorkBlog editor) ]

rsz_ns__mayjun_2014A quick online search reveals a plethora of advice and information about choosing the right mood-altering paint colours for office walls and selecting the best beanbags for worksite chill-out spaces. Not to mention the availability of on-site massages to ease employee tension and anxiety.

It’s tempting to make these interventions the centrepiece of workplace mental health and wellbeing programs because they are feel-good, visible signs of management action that are relatively easy to implement. Continue reading “Mind Set – Mental Health in Australian Workplaces”