Today (Thursday 7 October) is national R U OK? Day, an initiative designed to prevent suicides by recognising the need to support employee mental wellbeing.
Employers have been encouraged to have conversations with their staff in order to manage stress in the workplace – a topic often brushed under the carpet.
Stress and depression are the largest contributors to lost productivity in Australia, directly costing employers an estimated $10.11 billion a year. In addition, workplace counselling for anxiety and stress has increased 68 per cent and 76 per cent respectively since 2007.
Organisations can participate in RUOK? at Work by encouraging staff to contact anyone who may be struggling and ask "Are you OK?".
In 2009 1.3 million Australians participated with over 650,000 conversations. Over 300 businesses participated – including News Limited, ABC, Lion Nathan, SA Government and NSW Fire Brigades amongst others.
R U OK? at Work has 4 key objectives:
· Help employees feel good about themselves by connecting with, and supporting others.
· Increase connection and support within organisations.
· Through that connection and support, reduce workplace stress and depression.
· Through reducing workplace stress and depression, help reduce Australia's suicide rate.
R U OK? Is an independent, not-for-profit organisation whose purpose is to provide national focus and leadership for ending suicide in Australia by empowering people to make a difference, encouraging open and honest communication and driving real connection.
Full resources and support materials are available at www.ruokday.com.au