R U OK? Day is as a crucial annual reminder of the importance of checking in with our colleagues and loved ones about their mental health. In the workplace alone, poor mental health costs the Australian economy over $70 billion each year. This cost will not improve by acknowledging R U OK? Day alone. Creating a mentally healthy workplace requires a comprehensive, ongoing approach that extends well beyond just this single day of awareness.  

R U OK? Day’s Significance: A Catalyst for Change 

R U OK? Day serves as a powerful catalyst for conversations surrounding mental health in the workplace as well as outside of work. It reminds us of the significance of acknowledging our colleagues’, friends, or families’ emotional struggles and offering support. Workplaces are often very quick to jump at the opportunity to celebrate this day with ‘soft’ offerings such as cupcakes in the office kitchen. Whilst this may highlight the day itself, R U OK? Day cupcakes aren’t going to solve a $70 billion problem. 

Beyond the Day: A Long-term Approach to Mental Wellbeing 

While R U OK? Day is a steppingstone, creating and sustaining a mentally healthy workplace involves a comprehensive strategy that permeates the very core of an organisation. This multifaceted approach comprises three essential pillars: behaviour, policy, and environment. 

1. Behaviour:  

Fostering a culture of support and understanding within the workplace starts with the behaviour of leaders and employees alike. Providing education and practical tools on how individuals can improve and maintain their mental health is vital, along with promoting open communication, encouraging active listening, and normalising seeking help when needed. Employees should feel empowered through education to express themselves without fear of judgment, enabling them to find the assistance they require. 

At Better Being, we understand that mental health is a year-round journey. Beyond R U OK? Day, we are dedicated to fostering a workplace where employees feel valued, supported, and heard. Through our comprehensive wellbeing programs, we take a preventative approach to mental wellbeing. This is done in line with the positive behaviour change model – active promotion of open conversations about mental health, encouragement of evidence-based lifestyle strategies, and educational resources for both prevention and intervention. 

Click here to talk to one of our team members about our wellbeing programs. 

2. Policy

Effective workplace policies create a solid foundation for addressing mental health concerns. This includes implementing clear guidelines for stress management, flexible work arrangements, and access to mental health resources or services. Incorporating mental health into an organisation’s policies demonstrates a commitment to employee wellbeing and creates a sense of safety. 

3. Environment

The physical and virtual environments within the workplace can greatly impact one’s mental health. An environment designed with mental wellbeing in mind includes well-lit spaces, comfortable seating areas, and opportunities for physical activity. Additionally, digital spaces can be utilised to provide resources, tools, and avenues for anonymous support, reinforcing the notion that mental health is a priority for the organisation. 

Ready to implement a wellbeing program with tangible benefits for everyone involved?