TEACHING student leaders to promote good mental health is just as important as educating staff at Federation University, Student Connect director Jerry van Delft says.
Mr van Delft said a good workplace culture on campus is just as much about student engagement as it is for teachers.
He said when the nation’s political leaders in Canberra might not be offering the best example in leadership, it was even more vital to set the right culture in grassroots organisations.
For Federation University, Mr van Delft considered the work environment to encompass staff, students and engagement back into the broader community. Getting culture right, he said, should have positive flow-on effects.
Mr van Delft was a panellist for a beyondblue workshop promoting mentally healthier workplaces, run in partnership with Institute of Managers and Leaders, in Ballarat on Tuesday.
This comes as the national mental health body finds one in five Australians are experiencing a mental health condition, but only 52 per cent of workers feel their workplace promotes mental health.
Mr van Delft said it was a timely forum and Federation University had staff from a cross-section of departments in attendance, with the workshop aiming to help organisations tailor mental health strategies that work for their teams.
CVGT Australia’s Daniel Smart, a fellow panellist, said investment in mental health was a high priority for his organisation’s work in disability employment services.
“We’re of the belief that promoting a positive work culture creates less staff turnover, more productivity and there are so many benefits,” Mr Smart said.
“We have an open-door policy and management is very supportive of staff who may have mental health issues. We hope this will help to promote a positive community impact.”
beyondblue and IML are rolling out the Leadership Outlook workshops nationwide to give community business leaders a starting point in developing mentally healthy workplaces.
This is in response to increasing employer concern about promoting better well-being among staff but a general uncertainty in where to start.
The workshop encouraged leaders to form a clear plan on key actions, this includes: addressing mental health risks; fostering an anti-bullying culture; well-defined job roles; monitoring how employees carry out their tasks; promoting work-life balance; and, suicide prevention and awareness.
beyondblue’s Heads Up website also offers free resources for employers, employees, managers and small business owners to create mentally well workplace.
This can be found at headsup.org.au.
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