Why CEOs are more influential on your mental health than GPs

Businesses are going to have to start reporting incidences of mental health more effectively

Why CEOs are more influential on your mental health than GPs

With mental health coming to the forefront during the pandemic, it’s now the job of leaders to keep that momentum going and not allow their priorities to drop off. Ahead of HRD’s Workplace Mental Health Summit on May 26, 2022, HRD sat down with Matt Meffan, regional sales lead at Unmind, the Summit’s event partner, to discuss some of the data around mental health in the workplace and the new International Standards Organisation guidelines.

Meffan told HRD that in Australia last year 50% of employees who left their job cited a poor environment in terms of mental health, with a recent Harvard study finding that globally 41% of employees have experienced a decline in mental health. While businesses made strides in mental health during the pandemic, there’s still some alarming data coming out around mental health that suggests more work needs to be done.

Meffan cited a recent McKinsey report that highlights the disconnect between employers and employees when it comes to mental health. 71% of employers report supporting mental health well or very well, but only 27% of employees agree. What’s more, 37% of employees expect their employer to be their key mental health provider.

“People in general are now expecting their employer to be their key provider of mental health,” Meffan told HRD. “A lot of people would accept that your CEO is more influential to your mental health than your GP.”

If the driving need and want from employees isn’t enough, new guidelines from the International Standards Organisation, which have already started the legislative process in parts of Australia mean businesses will have to have to start reporting mental health incidences much more effectively.

Meffan describes the new legislation as the carrot and the stick, “historically it’s been the carrot, where the guideline was - organisations were expected to use their common sense. Now, it’s what we refer to as the stick, where there are penalties handed out compliance standards must be met - it’s much more regulated.”

ISO, the governing body for standards on everything from data security and privacy to Workplace psychological safety, have produced the ISO 45003 guidelines around workplace psychological safety, which includes guidelines around three main areas.

  1. How an employee’s work is organised – expectations of their role, job description, working hours, job security.
  2. Social factors at work – harassment, bullying, company culture.
  3. Physical safety at work – pertains to the work environment, noise, space, natural light, etc.

At Unmind, they work closely with businesses to help them measure and understand what types of psychosocial risks might exist - mentor leaders through the process of creating the types of environments the guidelines suggest.

At the Summit, Meffan will speak at on ‘The Power of a mentally healthy workforce: How leaders can drive cultural change’.

He will explain how to create environments for high-performing teams, how to improve the effectiveness of investment in mental health and wellbeing, how to reduce psychological risk in your workplace, and share key strategies and present evidence to support why this is an important topic that needs addressing.

Register for the HRD Workplace Mental Health Summit here.

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