Mental health is not a scary conversation

Jonah Group

By Jimmy Thomson, Jonah Group
Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Mental health is not a scary conversation

Recently, we’ve seen greater acknowledgement that mental health in the workplace is a very real issue facing organisations. But where do you start to break down the stigma and barriers surrounding this?

DuluxGroup Retail Select recently rolled out a mental health program developed by Jonah Group to 158 members of its Retail Select workforce. The company had found that pressures of meeting sales targets, supporting business partners and serving customers were all having a psychological impact on its workers.

According to Neale Ferris, National Manager Retail Select at DuluxGroup, there was a mixed reaction when the organisation announced plans to implement the program.

“There was excitement through to the fear of, ‘Oh crap, what are we going to uncover and how to manage it?’ This reinforced my belief that we were doing the right thing. After 30 minutes of the first session that fear was proven to be unfounded. In every single session, we helped people,” he said.

After employees had been through the program, Ferris received many positive emails and also noticed some positive changes in employees’ mental health.

“We had several extremely large orders to fulfil that would normally create a very high level of anxiety for many in my team. This time around, we did not have one instance of anyone being unable to take it on. They knew how to deal with that short-term anxiety in that process. For me, it was a $300,000 response from my team that, before this program, we wouldn’t have achieved,” he said.

Another positive result from the program was on absenteeism, which has dropped from three per week to none. “We are looking after both physical and mental wellbeing, and our people know we are doing that.”

Jonah Group runs workshops for employees and leaders across a range of industries and can help organisations access government grants and funding.

Visit to see the full video interview.

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