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Linked: One in two employees reluctant to disclose a mental health condition at work

This is really the million dollar question, right?

“Meditation sessions, mental health days and access to EAPs are widely available in many organisations.

On top of this, George Garrop, CEO of the Australian College of Applied Professions (ACAP), says that employees are repeatedly told ‘to be themselves’ and that ‘it’s okay not to be okay’ at work.

Why then do more than one in two Australian employees say they’d hide a mental or physical health condition at work to avoid being judged or discriminated against? And why do 67 percent of HR and recruitment workers feel lip service is being paid to their mental health?”

There’s much more analysis of that question at the link below, but as I read it I kept coming back to this one thought.

Through all of this, we still haven’t addressed the tough parts.

Sure, we’ve offered time off. We’ve told people it’s OK to not be OK. We’ve offered mental health apps for free. Maybe we’ve even offered more significant mental health benefits, or done sessions during the workday on stress and burnout.

What we haven’t done in many cases are the harder things, like creating a culture that is not rewarding all of the things we encourage employees not to do.

We talk a good game about burnout, but who’s the first person to get publicly praised on our teams? The one working a ton of hours.

We talk a good game about it being OK to not be OK, but we don’t give managers the training to help support an employee who is not OK.

We encourage people to use their time off, to disconnect and refresh but then have them come back to an overwhelming pile of work that hadn’t been done.

Can you see where this would not encourage employees to actually use those benefits?

Changing the culture won’t be that easy. It is going to take more than a few meditation apps and stress relief educational sessions. It’s going to require us to develop an entire culture built around something other than rewarding the people who work longer and longer hours.

Is your organization willing to do the hard work, or are they just talking the talk?

It matters, and until you start walking the walk as well, there will be survey results like these.

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