Queensland shines spotlight on mental health

Wednesday, 09 October, 2019

Queensland shines spotlight on mental health

Hundreds of business leaders and work health and safety professionals are set to gather in Brisbane this Thursday to learn about suicide prevention, resilience, workplace interventions and the importance of creating a psychologically safe workplace as part of Mental Health Week (5–13 October).

The Mental Health Forum — to be held at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on 10 October — aims to raise awareness about mental health risks, encourage attendees to manage their wellbeing and explore the key ingredients needed for a mentally healthy and safe workplace. Such workplaces have better worker engagement, job satisfaction, fewer workers compensation claims, increased productivity and less absenteeism and staff turnover, according to Queensland Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace.

“It’s estimated poor psychological health and safety costs Australian organisations $6 billion each year in lost productivity. This includes workers who may not necessarily be suffering from a mental health condition but are impacted by stressful and unsupportive workplaces,” Grace said.

Queensland Mental Health Ambassador and four-time Olympic gold medallist Libby Trickett said this week “puts the spotlight firmly on [mental health] and we need to have these candid conversations”. As part of her role as Ambassador, Trickett visits workplaces across the state, sharing her battle with depression and recovery.

“It’s hard to relive your own painful experiences, let alone share a family history of poor mental health and depression — but these kinds of stories need to be told and I’m opening up about mine,” Trickett said. “I suffered depression after stepping away from the pool in 2010. But with the help of family and friends, as well as professionals, I’ve been able to bounce back. One thing that helped me turn things around was exercise, so I’m all about finding positives in people’s lives which give them renewed focus and hope.

“It was a very difficult time for me and it takes a lot of courage to finally admit you’re not okay,” Trickett said. “I felt really isolated, I felt very lonely during that time, but it was the support and the love and the connection that I had with my family and friends which allowed me to push through it. Every day in our lives we should connect with people, be it family, friends or work colleagues, and just check to see if they are okay.”

More information on the Mental Health Forum, Queensland Mental Health Week and creating mentally healthy workplaces can be found via Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s website.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Urupong

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