Category Archives: Workplace mental health

What if you as a manager are held to account for your staff’s mental health?

Take heart – what can EAP do for heart and brain health?

This week is both Heart Week and the week Oars Across the Waters celebrates 14 years of providing mental health and management support; 14 years supporting our clients with their choices for psychological and physical health.

Heart week is wonderful prompt to us all to make healthy life choices, to not only extend our life but extend the quality of the ‘end of life’ years. The Heart Foundation released disturbing news this week ‘that more than two thirds of Australian adults – almost 13 million people, or 69.1 per cent – have at least three risk factors for the nation’s biggest killer, heart disease’: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/news/almost-13-million-aussies-risk-heart-disease-new-data. The World Health Organisation’s research indicates that although we’ve increased our longevity, many of the last years of our life are lived in poor health.

For us as counsellors, heart health and brain health are closely linked.  Alzheimers Associations globally are reporting that the chance of developing Alzheimers, is reduced for many of us, by a lifestyle that’s good for our heart.

This is good news for all of us who want to live and work long productive lives, and for employers who want a reliable healthy workforce.

Lifestyle choices, and the thinking and beliefs associated with them are open to change; the sort of change that comes about in high quality counselling and education sessions. Employee Assistance Providers are skilled at delivering these sessions. Like us, most EAP providers can provide both development sessions on lifestyle choices and cognitive behavioural therapy for better lifestyle choices.

EAPs can help employees through both current and future troubled waters. Their proactive services have a huge role to play in supporting the health of the nation. EAPAA lists the member providers in your state: http://www.eapaa.org.au/site/providers/

Or simply contact us for managers’ and staff support and development: http://managersassistance.com.au/contact-form-7-id53-titlecontact-form-1contact/

Heading to Christmas

As we head to Christmas many managers confide in us that they are feeling tired by their attempts to address long term issues with or between staff. They say they hope that staff will return in the new year refreshed;putting previous issues with other staff behind them. But some go on to say this has not happened in the past and there needs to be a new approach.

Christmas and the New Year does give opportunity to raise issues. However the conversation to bring these to the surface needs some planning.

We need to be aware that the festive season often involves staff in more competing priorities than they normally experience. The conversation you are contemplating having, needs to not trigger these existing tensions, but rather give hope that overrides tensions; overrides the tensions that would otherwise prevent your staff member in working through alternatives to what they are currently doing or how they are behaving.

To have this conversation you may want to take some time to rehearse it with one of our expert guides.

In our quiet, comfortable consulting rooms, many managers are able to download, problem solve and refocus. All you need to do to access this service is to contact us. We’re here to assist: http://managersassistance.com.au/contact-form-7-id53-titlecontact-form-1contact/

Performance, sleep and Alzheimers alert

Early Alzheimers may just look like fragmented performance.

It’s Alzheimers Awareness month. Early onset Alzheimers in workplaces is a considerable challenge for managers to ethically manage.

We’ve all heard about Alzheimers. But it seems so far away from us; from our work and performance. Sadly, recent research is showing that most people present for testing so late in the progression of the disease that they really reduce the chance of slowing it. The ray of hope though, is that research is currently indicating quite clearly what the risk factors are. Most are risks we can manage, hence delaying the onset of the effect on our performance.

Continue reading

Brain health for managers

The workplace in which we are visible to others for around 8 hours a day presents an ideal opportunity to increase brain health and reduce mental health costs to our community.

Research on brain health and the brain’s capacity to heal is increasing. One interesting aspect of this research though is that it is also indicating what poor brain health does to our functioning. The University of NSW Brain and Mind Institute research reports the earlier depression is addressed, the more chance of recovery. Their findings indicate depression causes an area of the brain to shrink and reduce learning capacity. This has significant implications for Australian employers when Australian Bureau of Statistics data indicates that one in five people in the population suffer mental health issues with the most common reported by the World Health Organisation being depression and anxiety.

It is in the interests of employers to keep the learning capacity of its staff healthy. Picking up on potential early indicators of distress is then highly desirable for commercial if not altruistic reasons.

If you would like further information on supporting brain health please make contact through your confidential contact page:

http://managersassistance.com.au/contact-form-7-id53-titlecontact-form-1contact/

Adjustment to change – is adjustment enough?

In this age of disruption, there are still some things we think will stay the same; government and its institutions as an example. But we are seeing unprecedented change in the Western Australian State Government. There once were 41 heads of agencies, but as of 1 July  there are only 25, with the press reporting many related departures.

In times of change we all naturally talk with colleagues, family and friends. But for some people, and for many of us, unprecedented change brings fears that are hard to dispel. Staff and clients of these agencies may struggle with personal, financial security and professional career path concerns. We’re expecting that the press coverage concerning this unprecedented change  is likely to trigger many fears.

At times like these our counsellors provide adjustment to change counselling; helping clients, not just to cope, but to find new and helpful ways through troubled waters.

http://managersassistance.com.au/contact-form-7-id53-titlecontact-form-1contact/

Vexed management situations: a blow up at work

Managers Assistance receives many calls like the one below:

We have a problem. We don’t know if you’ll be able to help but you were recommended to us. We have had a blow up at work. We sat the two people down to work it out, but it just got worse with one of the people now being on ‘stress leave’. We’re hoping you can provide some help or mediation. 

As the employee walked out she said she’s  ‘sick to death of all of us. No other manager has ever found fault with her and we are an uncaring bunch who don’t care a hoot about her and what she’s been going through!’ We know that her son is a bit off the rails and has been stealing from her.

Previously we’ve offered her EAP for herself and her son but she said he wouldn’t go to a counsellor. Continue reading

Distressed staff – how can you help?

Many managers who want to assist distressed staff have the best of intentions but are not sure how much they should, or should not get involved. The delicate balance of empathy and needed outcomes can pull a manager’s priorities in competing directions.

Making the decision to assist and then how to have that assisting conversation, what boundaries to set and what offers to make, can cause a manager angst and affect their own productivity.

Here are some basics that may help:

  1. Managing your own emotions by being practiced and well balanced going into the conversation;
  2. Not making offers without seeking guidance about your obligations as an employer representative;
  3. Having the capacity to listen within your area of competence and then knowing how to refer to others including expert services who may be of assistance to your employee.

If it’s difficult to find a trusted colleague to rehearse your intended conversation, it’s possible to gain our support. Just go to our confidential contact form:

http://managersassistance.com.au/contact-form-7-id53-titlecontact-form-1contact/