A suite of mental health resources for workers suffering from isolation, anxiety and poor mental health have been put online by the ACT Government and WorkSafe as part of Canberra’s community recovery plan.
Health and wellbeing webinars, online programs and suicide prevention courses are all being introduced to help struggling workers and local businesses access the help they need when they need it.
The online programs complement the ACT Government’s recent $4.5 million mental health package that is helping organisations like Lifeline Canberra, Menslink and The Way Back Support Service expand their online platforms and deal with an increase in calls and demand.
Co-ordinator General of the Office of Mental Health and Wellbeing Dr Elizabeth Moore said it is important that Canberrans keep an eye on their mental health status and the mental health of our friends and families during the pandemic.
“We have anxiety and depression from the actual disease, as well as from some of the very necessary management that has needed to happen, such as the closure of businesses and social isolation,” she said.
The movement towards online and telehealth services has increased during the pandemic as the Federal and ACT Governments have pumped money into Medicare and the not-for-profit sector to deal with the influx of demand from people staying at home.
“Initially, people did not want to take on telepsychiatry, but telehealth is being used quite extensively,” Dr Moore said. “The things that have surprised me, and that I have been really heartened about, are the way people have taken on board the new ways of working.”
Minister for Employment and Workplace Safety Suzanne Orr, who is also leading the community recovery plan, said the Government is working to find new ways for mental health services to adapt during the pandemic.
“We know that the past few months have not been easy for our community and workplaces have had to move quickly to adapt to our new way of life. For many, this comes with an increased likelihood of work-related psychological harms, including mental fatigue and strain,” she said.
“As part of the ACT Government’s Canberra recovery plan, a focus has been placed on community recovery and these measures will help provide a welcome boost to those struggling to return to ‘business as usual’.
“While the physical health risk of COVID-19 in workplaces remains present, the risk to our mental health and wellbeing also needs to be taken seriously. To reduce those risks, the Government is encouraging all businesses and employers to join the Mentally Healthier Workplaces initiative.”
WorkSafe ACT said it is committed to providing ongoing support for local workplaces, businesses and staff that are struggling during the pandemic.
Ms Orr has also encouraged businesses to take the Mentally Healthier Workplaces Pledge and introduce a 12-month action plan.
Workplaces who show that they are committed to creating a mentally healthy workplace will be recognised for their efforts.
More information on the Healthier Work program and the Mentally Healthier Workplaces initiative is available on the Healthier Work website.
For tips and resources on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit The Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing website.