10 Apr 2024 | Blog

Navigating mental health: A workplace journey


Roger served as an auditor within a vast international consultancy firm, embodying diligence, competence, and an unfailingly upbeat demeanour. However, beneath his sunny disposition lay a hidden struggle.

For an extended period, Roger contended with both depression and anxiety, bravely masking his true feelings behind a veneer of positivity at work, despite being shadowed by sorrow and unease.

Beyond Blue reports that nearly one in two individuals will confront mental health issues during their lifetime. A 2019 study by the Australian Productivity Commission highlighted that mental health difficulties cost Australian companies as much as $180 billion annually in productivity losses.

The COVID-19 crisis significantly exacerbated stress and anxiety among people, largely due to isolation and the shift to remote working conditions.

Roger’s internal conflict began to take its toll, leading to forgetfulness, concentration problems, and missed deadlines. These physical manifestations deepened his depression, eroding his self-worth and instilling a profound sense of despair.

Mary-Ann, Roger’s supervisor, noticed an uncharacteristic error from him on a straightforward assignment and decided to have a candid conversation with him over coffee.

There’s now a heightened recognition of the importance of mental health and its impact on employees. Yet, many still choose to remain silent for fear of judgement and discrimination.

In the casual setting of a café, Roger tentatively shared his ongoing battle with anxiety and depression, which he had previously been too apprehensive to disclose.

Mary-Ann offered a sympathetic ear, encouraging him to express his challenges. To her understanding, Roger revealed how his overwhelming feelings had led him to withdraw from team meetings and avoid social gatherings with co-workers and friends.

Lately, there’s been a positive shift in workplace mental health perceptions, thanks to educational initiatives, support networks, policy reforms, and changes in corporate culture.

Mary-Ann pledged her full support for Roger’s journey towards getting help, proposing a work arrangement tailored to his needs. This plan included flexible working hours and routine personal meetings.

She outlined that their company policy empowered her to evaluate Roger’s requirements concerning his tasks, interactions, stress levels, and need for breaks, among other factors.

With Roger’s consent, Mary-Ann arranged for him to meet with Jack, the firm’s HR Workplace Health and Safety Manager, who informed Roger about the organisation’s mental health strategy and available counselling services.

Roger’s decision to consult a professional therapist, coupled with the support and resources from his workplace, helped him regain confidence and cope more effectively. His smile became a genuine reflection of his improving mental state.

Mental health influences every aspect of life, including professional performance and personal satisfaction.

For Roger, the journey towards recovery marked a positive change, enriching not just his professional life but also his personal and social spheres.

Acknowledging himself as a work in progress, Roger feels that every day is an improvement, comforted by the support he now has.

Mental health challenges can affect anyone, regardless of demographic factors. Organisations like Beyond Blue and Lifeline offer support for those feeling overwhelmed and provide advice to employers on creating supportive work environments.

If work-related issues are impacting your mental well-being, seeking assistance from HR or a supervisor is advised.

Update: Having reclaimed his mental well-being, Roger embraced the role of Mental Wellness Officer within his company, a position developed in response to the growing awareness of workplace mental health. While maintaining his audit responsibilities, he now also guides and supports colleagues dealing with similar challenges.

The information contained on this website has been provided as general advice only. The contents have been prepared without taking account of your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should, before you make any decision regarding any information, strategies or products mentioned on this website, consult your own financial adviser to consider whether that is appropriate having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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