A masterclass in supporting a mentally healthy workplace

As part of its commitment to providing a safe and responsive work environment, WA Primary Health Alliance is setting up its managers to succeed by offering them a mental health masterclass.

 The training will help managers to pick up on the signs of a mental health issue in a staff member, give them the confidence to broach the topic and teach them how to respond appropriately and compassionately.

Managers will also be equipped with a suite of highly practical skills to help them work with their team members to develop an action plan, and, importantly, strategies to look after their own mental health which will have flow on benefits for their teams and the wider organisation.

WA Primary Health Alliance CEO Learne Durrington said the health and wellbeing of staff is a priority for the organisation and as managers have such a critical role to play, they need to be well prepared.

“We understand managers can sometimes find it hard to respond when a member of their team is experiencing a mental health issue, either avoiding the issue or failing to recognise the person is struggling,” Ms Durrington said.

“The training gives them the knowledge, skills and confidence to deal with what is after all a very common situation, with one in five Australians experiencing a mental health issue in their lifetime.

“Our recent adoption of flexible working arrangements means we don’t have as much contact with each other as we had previously. This means the ability of our managers to identify if a team member isn’t coping is now more important than ever.

“We’re committed to creating a workplace culture where each of us feels safe, supported and confident enough to talk about our mental health and know we will be supported.”

The training, which forms part of the organisation’s wider Health and Wellbeing Strategy, will begin with an online mental health masterclass, followed by a workshop where managers can explore ideas in more depth and share experiences with each other.

The online component is being provided by psychologists and workplace mental health experts from Aspect Group, and the workshop is being run by the Blackdog Institute, a national medical research institute that investigates mental health across the lifespan.