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Supporting Employees: Mental Health Matters

There is no doubting that the continuously evolving impacts of COVID-19 on our society, industry and communities has been stressful. Weeks of uncertainty and abrupt changes have required significant and rapid adaptation.

AAAA understands that for those who run businesses which may be negatively affected by the Coronavirus, the stresses can be many and varied. Some may be feeling worried about the health and economic impacts for themselves and their families. Many are also concerned about the wellbeing of their employees and are doing everything they can to support their workforce.  

AAAA is aware that these worries extend past simply wanting to keep workers ‘in a job’. Auto aftermarket employers want to ensure they are best supporting the mental health of their staff members during this unprecedented and difficult time.

AAAA is pleased to share the following resources as being potentially helpful for members and the broader industry.

Beyond Blue has provided the following tips for employers who are looking to support the mental health of their employees during the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Maintain regular communication with your employees.
  • Keep staff up to date about your business’ response to COVID-19.
  • Make sure your staff are aware of the supports that are available to them (for example, if you have an Employee Assistance Program [EAP] in place).
  • If you are concerned about an employee or colleague, make sure you check-in with them and encourage them to get the support they need. Having conversations like this can be difficult, so check out Beyond Blue’s advice on conversations around mental health here.
  • Don’t forget to take time to look after yourself too.

You may also like to check out Beyond Blue’s Tips for Managers resource which provides valuable information on maintaining a mentally healthy workplace; and their Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service through which trained mental health professionals are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by phone, webchat and email.

Further resources

The Australian Government’s Mental Health Commission has created a comprehensive list of resources you and your employees may find helpful when it comes to the topic of mental health. Please see below for this resource list and for more information from the Commission, visit www.mentalhealthcommission.gov.au

Please note: the list below covers a range of topics and is not strictly related to supporting employees, however it is important to remember that the people who work for you are not only staff members, but also active members of families and your wider community. As such, some of the resources below may be of interest to your workers and we encourage you to share these resources with them as well as your friends and family.

  • #InThisTogether – The Commission has worked together with leading mental health organisations, experts and spokespeople to develop a national online conversation sharing practical tips to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australians during #COVID19.
  • Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service – a dedicated website with information, advice and strategies to help manage your wellbeing and mental health during this time. 
  • WHO COVID-19 Mental Health Considerations – for the public, health workers, parents and people in isolation.
  • Head to Health – a dedicated landing page for mental health information to help you and your loved ones cope with feelings resulting from the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Life In Mind and the National Mental Health Commission have also developed a landing page consolidating resources available into one spot. This will be updated regularly.
  • RUOK? has shared a message on the importance of staying connected and how to recognise the signs that someone may be struggling.
  • ReachOut has developed resources and practical tips to help young people look after their wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as specific tips for parents about how to talk to their teenagers about COVID-19.
  • headspace has developed tips for young people on how to cope with stress related to Coronavirus.
  • UNICEF Australia has developed resources to support teachers and parents in talking to children about COVID-19 as well as  information on how employers can support working parents during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Triple P Parenting has a parenting guide during COVID-19 and a podcast to support parents.
  • Emerging Minds has a video for parents on talking to children about disasters, traumatic events, or worries about the future.
  • Phoenix Australia has tips for taking care of yourself and your family as well as for those that need to quarantine or self-isolate and when to seek help.
  • WHO Social Stigma Guidelines for COVID-19 outlines safe language to use when discussing COVID-19 to avoid social stigma.
  • SBS has Coronavirus health and mental health information for those that speak a language other than English. 

Online Support 

  • Beyond Blue has a dedicated COVID-19 online forum for people to share their concerns and connect online to support one another.
  • SANE have an active online forum focused on unpacking fact from fiction about COVID-19 and providing self-care strategies.
  • eFriend is a free virtual peer support service where you can access 6 sessions with the same peer worker to support your mental health and wellbeing.  
  • ReachOut has online youth forums and online parents forums for COVID-19 offering peer support in safe and established online communities.  

24/7 Support Phone Lines

  • Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Line: 1800 512 348
  • Lifeline: 13 11 14
  • Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36
  • MensLine: 1300 78 99 78
  • Suicide Call Back Service :1300 659 467
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

Don’t forget: you can also get help from a local GP or health professional. For information about accessing telehealth services speak to your local GP and support team. Ask about a mental health plan which will enable access to psychological services with a Medicare rebate.

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