Statistics released today by Converge International gives a snapshot into the burden mental health is inflicting on Australian workplaces.
Workers are saying:
Their top concerns right now include how high their volume of work is, concern for the health of others, uncertainty about the future, and fear of unemployment.
An increase in employees feeling depressed, stressed, irritable, and grumpy.
20% have indicated feeling anxious.
But, 73% still say despite their current workplace situation, they are doing fine.
However, as the pandemic challenges the mental health of our most robust workers, regular COVID-19 workplace check ins are proving that a simple phone call can be a gamechanger.
Converge Connect is a tailored phone call service created specifically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that was designed to create a connection with employees.
Many of these employees are now working from home, isolated and battling unforeseen mental health challenges.
Employees like Paula Bond from Lower Murray Water in Mildura, Victoria says the Converge calls afforded her someone to talk to outside of her family and work colleagues.
Ms Bond said:
“These regular calls meant I had someone who I could talk to who wasn’t in my immediate family and who wasn’t emotionally connected to my day-to-day.”
“Especially on the work side of things, we’re all busy and going through it – we’re all stressed right now.
“I found it so helpful right now to have someone to talk to about things – like real things – and I can’t speak highly enough of this service – it has been an absolute sanity-saver.”
Converge CEO Dr. Jenny George said that while unexpected mental health issues wreak havoc on many Australian workers, a simple phone call can help, and in a big way.
Dr. George said.
“We know for a fact that a simple regular check in can make a world of difference for someone who might be struggling to keep their head above water.”
“And that struggle doesn’t have to be obvious – maybe it’s disturbed sleep, a feeling of malaise, or something more obvious like anxiety or depression.
“We’re collectively going through a tough time right now – the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic, significant financial uncertainty, and unemployment have caused major upheaval to our daily lives and routines.
“Mental health in the workplace costs the Australian economy almost $60 billion a year, and that is before you even consider the ramifications of a global pandemic.
“However, help is at hand and the data doesn’t lie – we know early intervention makes a big difference – particularly in the workplace.
“We know businesses who are proactively putting the health of their employees first are seeing the long-term benefits.
“Organisations are understanding the need to step up and better equip their workforce to cope and build their mental fitness and resilience.”
Dr. George stressed that the calls were highly confidential, with no individual information provided to the employer or to a third-party, much like it is for an EAP.
“The majority of employees are reporting they are ‘fine’ and don’t need additional support, however those who are not ‘fine’ are offered follow-up support through the organisation’s EAP.”
“Our Converge Connect staff are highly trained and simply ask a series of questions that may identify potential areas of risk.
“It’s important to note our COVID-19 call program is designed to work alongside mental health professionals and does not replace that role.”
The Converge Connect program works with 46 Australian organisations around the country, making on average, 100+ welfare calls a week to employees.
So far, the program has helped over 2200 Aussie workers who continue to navigate their new sense of normal throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.