Helping an employee suffering from mental illness

By Vanessa Weaver, the Executive Director of Hair and Beauty Australia

Around 1 million Australian adults live with depression and over 2 million have anxiety.

On average, one in five women and one in eight men will experience depression in their lifetime.

One in three women and one in five men will experience anxiety.

These statistics are significant, startling and concerning for employers. The results of these statistics on anxiety, depression and mental illness mean that there is a higher rate of absenteeism, reduced productivity at work and increased turnover, let alone the social impacts on workplace relationships and team cohesion.

While many employees can successfully manage their anxiety and depression without it impacting their work, some may need adjustments to the workplace or job to help them continue their role. Others may need time off, and while we appreciate that this incurs a cost for employees, it is important that flexibility is taken into account in these circumstances.

Hair and Beauty Australia are supporting Australians suffering through depression and anxiety through our Luxury Prize Draw, with all profits going to beyondblue. Every day, nearly eight people take their own lives – and beyondblue want to change that. beyondblue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.

You could be driving away in your brand new 5-door Hatch Mercedes-Benz A180, or wearing your beautiful new Diamond Tennis Bracelet, and most importantly supporting beyondblue.

All you have to do is purchase a ticket online to be in the draw to win! With only 1,100 tickets available, the odds are better than the lottery, and you know that by buying a ticket, you are doing something good for someone who really needs help.

Employers have an important role to play in ensuring that employees are supported to remain at or return to work, and that those who are returning to the workplace after an incident or period of difficulty are treated to a smooth process, and that goes for the whole salon team too.

Employers should also consider whether any changes to workplace practices or procedures that could help address any communication issues, such as clear guidance on expectations, responsibilities and deadlines, should be outlined in a Salon Policy and Procedures Manual.

Poor communication can often emerge in stressful situations, so addressing workflow within a team and good planning for meeting targets means that the employer has done its part to create an environment that maximizes the  prospect of good communication.

Employees also have a large role to play in ensuring that their needs are met and that any disruption to the workplace is limited. All employees should stick to some basic rules of behaviour, such as treating everyone with respect and courtesy and not interacting in a way that is demeaning, threatening or bullying. Work can play a significant part in recovery for someone with anxiety or depression, providing structure, a sense of purpose and social interaction.

For businesses supporting their staff through depression and anxiety, there are many benefits. These including retaining skills and experience, avoiding costs associated with retraining or hiring new employees and, above all, building a workplace culture that demonstrates to all employees that they are cared for and valued.

Three million Australians are currently experiencing anxiety or depression, and nearly 8 people per day take their own lives. By purchasing a ticket into the Luxury Prize Draw with Hair and Beauty Australia, you are helping beyondblue continue the good work they do in helping all Australians have their best mental health. Do your part to support beyondblue and buy a ticket today here.

Vanessa Weaver is the Executive Director of Hair and Beauty Australia, the peak industry body in Australia for the Hair and Beauty Industry, assisting salon owners with operational, industrial and compliance issues.

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