Promoting a positive workplace culture
Effective communication increases the likelihood of workers engaging in mental health initiatives. For mental health to be viewed as a priority within an organisation, safety culture needs to be embraced and modelled by senior leaders and management.
Leadership needs to actively demonstrate that physical and mental health are viewed as equally important, and ensure that mental health management is integrated into the safety management system and written into policies. Strategies need to be supported by appropriate action, especially by leaders and management, to ensure that the behaviours underpinned by these messages are valued and become part of the prevailing culture.
Effective leaders model their organisation’s values and standards for workplace behaviour and employees take their cues from their management and the immediate environment. It is important, therefore, to model behaviours that promote positive attitudes towards mental health and wellbeing. Modelling a positive workplace culture includes:
- encouraging collaboration
- welcoming new ideas
- discouraging gossip and rumours
- taking a zero tolerance approach to inappropriate and unreasonable workplace behaviours like bullying, violence, aggression and harassment
- attending mental health training and events and encouraging staff to attend
- being available to workers by having an open-door policy.
Understanding mental health stigma in the workplace
A helpful workplace safety culture develops through promoting a workplace that is inclusive, destigmatises mental health problems and encourages seeking of help.
Stigma associated with mental health has a negative impact on help seeking behaviours of those experiencing difficulties, and on the willingness of others to offer assistance. When stigma impacts on the way in which people behave toward another individual, this may constitute discrimination, and a barrier to individuals accessing support services.
Any delay in help-seeking can have a negative impact on mental health outcomes of workers, and in turn, affect the overall culture of the workplace.
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