We might talk about it a lot, but that’s because supporting the mental health of our customers and employees really is so important to us here at Linton Pitt, and our umbrella company, CFMG.
We surveyed our employees in 2018 and found out that there was appetite for access to more resources to help with this, so we’ve been growing what we do in this space so that there’s something for everyone.
MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID
Since one in five Australians experience a mental illness each year, and we’re regularly in contact with people who are doing it tough, we wanted to ensure we have people in-house who are trained in identifying and supporting people they’re concerned about.
Mental Health First Aid Australia came in and trained ten of our leaders and frontline employees to be accredited Mental Health First Aid Officers. They also assessed our performance in mental health support and awareness against a number of criteria, including strategy, leadership, communications, education and accessibility.
After demonstrating our performance and commitment to mental health in the workplace, MHFA Australia recognised us as a Gold level Mental Health First Aid Skilled Workplace – an achievement we’re immensely proud of.
Looking for ideas to support better mental health at your workplace?
Below are some the supporting mental health initiatives operating at CFMG:
This is our dedicated space for chill-out activities. There’s a dimmer switch so users can reduce the level of light in the room, and a suite of activities to help them relax, including:
• Mindful colouring books, markers and pencils
• A speaker for listening to music or a guided meditation
Colouring-in helps people to divert their focus away from intrusive and troubling thoughts, giving them a break and an opportunity to find some calm.
We associate play with kids, but there are excellent psychological and therapeutic benefits for adults as well. Lego helps adults practice innovating, risk taking, and using motor skills. It requires problem solving, creativity and concentration, all of which are great ways to divert the brain away from feelings of stress, anxiety and other mental health conditions.
Our quiet room has a number of books in a variety of genres for employees to read. Recreational reading has been shown to lower blood pressure, lower the heart rate, reduce muscle tension and drop stress levels. By stepping into a virtual world, readers can get away from the challenges they’re facing and zone out for a period of time.
It’s shown that music can have a profound effect on the emotions and the body. Music with a slow tempo can quiet the mind, relax the muscles and make a person feel soothed. Our quiet room has a Bluetooth speaker to allow for an enhanced listening experience.
We’ve been holding fortnightly meditation sessions since October – a practice shown to improve productivity, boost mental-wellbeing, and reduce stress. Either seated or lying down on yoga mats in a dark room, we listen to a guided meditation and emerge more focused, productive and able to manage our busy days.
LITTLE BOOK OF CALM
For those who need some help to relax, we have a whole page dedicated to chilling out on our intranet. Our online ‘little book of calm’ has suggestions for things like breathing, exercise, meditation apps, and music to help change the course of a stressful day.
Because we value our employees, we like to remind them that they’re special to us, and one of the ways we do that is through monthly massages. Massages are great for getting blood flowing, relaxing, easing muscle tension, and tuning out for a little while. Every employee is involved and our masseuses are fully qualified and excellent at targeting specific trouble areas.
HEALTHY FOOD OPTIONS
A healthy body supports a healthy mind, so we always make sure we have nutritionally beneficial food options available to employees at all times. We have fresh fruit deliveries to keep our fruit bowls stocked all week, a mini-bar with snacks like hommus, cheese, protein balls and muesli bars, and a freezer stocked with Youfoodz frozen meals, so there’s no need for our employees to rely on junk or to not eat at all.
CFMG’s leaders are passionate about ensuring everyone can balance what’s most important to them. Whether it’s family, study, or other commitments, everyone has access to flexible working arrangements that allow them to be present at home and work. This takes the pressure off trying to juggle it all and makes coming to work a little bit easier.
CFMG loves dogs! We also know how brilliant dogs are for supporting mental health. Our employees are encouraged to bring their dogs to work, and everyone is encouraged to have a pat and a cuddle throughout the day. This helps improve work-life balance, employee morale, health, and social connection.
We’re lucky in our business to bring together people from all over the world. From Malaysia to Sri Lanka, the United States to South Africa, we celebrate diversity every day.
Harmony Week is an opportunity to celebrate Australian multiculturalism, based on the successful integration of migrants into our community. It’s about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone, yet sadly, it has been a tough week for cultural inclusivity in our corner of the world.
For Harmony Week at CFMG, each person involved brought a dish that reflects their cultural background. This allowed us to learn about the diverse history, values and experiences that make up CFMG and celebrate the strength that we gain when everyone belongs and we are united.
With a variety of sweet and savory items ranging from simple foods to complicated dishes, the team had a great time sharing a little part of who they are with the rest of the business.
We’re very proud of our people, and value everything that makes them unique.
A little while ago I found myself really needing to access some support to help someone through a mental health crisis. Making a phone call wasn’t an easy option as I would need to find somewhere quiet and private, and I also knew that I was likely to become emotional – something I wanted to avoid.
Then I discovered that Beyond Blue has an online chat option from 3pm – 12am, seven days a week. I spoke to a crisis support counsellor who talked me through the situation, where I could go for more help if I needed it, and gave me a tonne of useful information about what to say etc.
Lifeline also has a chat line at night, but is also trialling a text service for crisis support. You can text 0477 131 114 from 6pm to 10pm, seven days a week to speak with Lifeline’s crisis supporters.
These online and text options aren’t available 24/7 just yet, but it’s so great to know that these organisations are starting to provide support in ways that really work for people.
For all other hours of the day, Lifeline and Beyond Blue have phone lines with really great crisis support counsellors on hand.
Where to go for help:
24/7 Phone Line: 13 11 14
Online Chat 7pm – 12am: https://www.lifeline.org.au/get-help/online-services/crisis-chat
Text 6pm – 10pm : 0477 131 114
24/7 Phone line: 1300 224 636
Online Chat 3pm – 12am: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/get-immediate-support