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New online programs to reduce workplace stress

Australian workers feeling stressed in the lead-up to Christmas should access beyondblue’s new online programs to help them understand and tackle depression and anxiety in the workplace. Source: Timberbiz

beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell AO said that while millions of Australians are looking forward to a break these holidays, no workplace should be so stressful that people can’t wait to get out of there.
“I would encourage managers and workers to check out these three new online programs, which will help them understand when colleagues’ out-of-character or stressed behaviour could be a sign of depression or anxiety,” she said.
Ms Carnell said the free programs, which are accessed online via the beyondblue website, offer interactive activities and real-life video stories to help workers recognise symptoms of depression and anxiety, look after their own mental health and that of their colleagues who may be experiencing problems.
“If your workplace is a little quieter in the run-up to Christmas or in January, managers in all types of jobs should encourage staff to spend half an hour looking at these programs,” she said.
“Helping someone with depression or anxiety to get the help they need could be the best gift you could give this Christmas. It is a time when the mental health of some is under extra strain due to things such as having to attend family functions, and the expense of presents and celebrations, which makes the release of these programs particularly timely.”
Ms Carnell said while people’s mental health problems may be the result of influences outside work, it has an impact on their productivity and relationships with colleagues because they cannot leave their illness at home
“Research shows that around one million Australians are experiencing depression right now while two million have an anxiety disorder,” she said. “When workers experiencing depression or anxiety get the help they need there are huge knock-on benefits for workplaces as motivation improves, sick days are reduced and productivity grows.”
The three programs that beyondblue has launched today on its website are titled What it’s like? – personal stories of depression, Perspectives – returning to work following a mental health problem and How to have a conversation: discussing mental health in the workplace.
How to have a conversation includes several ‘mini dramas’ that depict how to talk to someone within the workplace who may be experiencing a mental health problem.
Personal stories of depression aims to develop workers‟ understanding of what it’s like to experience depression while Perspectives helps people who may be supporting someone who is returning to work after experiencing mental health problems.
Managers and employees are also encouraged to visit a new website for further information about how to help a person returning to work after experiencing a mental health problem.
“We know this type of program works because the first online interactive workplace program, The Workplace Mental Health Awareness e-learning Program, released in January, has been accessed by more than 2000 different workplaces this financial year and is on track for 4000 by June 30 next year,” Ms Carnell said.
“This is more than 10 times the Federal government’s target of 350 unique workplace visits.”
Federal Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler said this highlighted the rapidly growing demand for mental health education in Australian workplaces.
“The Government is working in partnership with beyondblue to meet this demand and ensure Australian workplaces understand the importance of good mental health,” he said.
“These new programs will help achieve that and help many Australian workers who may be experiencing depression or anxiety.”
beyondblue’s four online e-learning workplace programs are funded as part of the Federal Department of Health and Ageing’s $23 million push to prevent male suicide, but are equally suitable for viewing by women.