Bupa prepares for mental health month

Illustration of a person wearing a yellow badge with a slimily face
  • World Mental Health Day is on 10 October; this year’s theme is psychological first aid
  • Every year in October, Bupa holds Mental Health Month to promote mental health awareness and education for our people
  • Bupa have a series of plans to ensure our people can be involved, be that via resources, stories, seminars, via our leaders or through one of our social initiatives.

The World Federation for Mental Health, World Mental Health Day is on 10 October each year.

In 2016, the theme is ‘psychological & mental health first aid for all’, which means, ensuring individuals have the skills and resources to respond in a humane and supportive way to people in distress, whether it’s in the context of an emergency, disaster or traumatic event, a mental health problem, or everyday social interaction.

Given the additional global and national focus of mental health at this time, October is a good month to maintain and/or build focus on mental health and wellbeing within your organisation so you can leverage any extra awareness your people may pick up from the media.

The Bupa employee health and wellbeing program ‘Smile’ will be rolling out specific activities to educate and drive mental health and wellbeing support for our people. Diana Black, Bupa Australia Employee Health and Wellbeing Manager tells us what’s being planned.

We’ll be using each week in October as a time to share different aspects of mental health with our people. We’ll include stories from our people and messages from our leaders to help normalise conversations about mental health conditions and break down any associated stigma. This information along with education and support about the main mental health challenges in the Australian community will be available for our people to reference throughout the year.

Last year we had a fantastic response to mental health seminars so we’re building on this to host targeted seminars for managers who may be supporting people with mental health issues, as well as seminars for employee groups on topics including resilience building and mental health knowledge.

It can be challenging to reach our senior leaders over multi-site locations, so we’re trialling a leader menu of workshops and seminars which they are able to use at any leadership offsite in the next 12 months. Let the training go where they are!

Something a little more light-hearted that we’ve used during previous Mental Health Months was a social connectivity initiative based on positive psychology where we distributed a small amount of free coffee vouchers so people could connect with a colleague and shout them a cuppa. We’ve also run a mental wellbeing wall on our intranet to start a constructive conversation about mental health and give our people the opportunity to share their personal wellbeing tips. These initiatives were very popular so we’ll work on something novel like this again.

Mental health and wellbeing support isn’t just for October; we’re building a mental health support framework as part of our broader Smile program using employee and business feedback to help our thinking and programs evolve to meet the needs of our people all year round.

For resources and ideas in your state, check out the Mental Health Commission and Heads Up

Sources

Australian Psychological Society. Psychological first aid: An Australian guide to supporting people affected by disaster [Online] 2013 [Accessed Aug 2016] Available from: www.redcross.org.au

World Federation for Mental Health. Dignity in mental health – Psychological & mental health first aid for all [Online; accessed Aug 2016] Available from: www.wfmh.com

This information has been reviewed for Bupa by health professionals and to the best of their knowledge is current and based on reputable sources of medical research. It should be used as a guide only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical or other health professional advice. Bupa HI Pty Ltd (and its related entities) makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the recommendations or assessments and is not liable for any loss or damage you suffer arising out of the use of or reliance on the information, except that which cannot be excluded by law. We recommend that you consult your doctor or other qualified health professional if you have questions or concerns about your health.