On 5 September, more than 70 Western Australians gathered together at the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) to discuss a cause close to many hearts; good health and wellbeing in the workplace.
Hosted by UNAA WA and SBDC, this panel event was the third in the inaugural Business & Sustainability Forum series.
The Hon. Alanna Clohesy MLC commenced the event by addressing the relevance of mental health to productivity, and the need for a commitment to normalising discourse surrounding mental health. Speakers at this month’s events included David Eaton (Small Business Commissioner of WA), Michael O’Hanlon (Workplace Engagement Manager, Beyond Blue), Scott Montgomery (WellteQ CEO/Co-Founder), and Neesha Seth (Registered Psychologist; Principal [Organisational Services] PeopleSense). Sharing their diverse experiences, insights and expertise, the speakers led a fascinating discussion facilitated by UNAA WA Vice President of Strategy, Dr Sandy Chong.
Subjects discussed included barriers to optimal wellbeing management in the workplace, measures that can be taken in industry to promote mental health, success stories, government and regulatory support. Some recognised barriers included competing priorities, low mental health literacy and stigma, while suggested measures to facilitate positive change included planning and baseline assessment, the importance of strong leadership, and fostering cultural change to make mental health part of the conversation in WA workplaces.
Discussion then turned to how colleagues can support each other, where small business can start in order to facilitate change, and how young people can be educated for better mental health outcomes in their career journeys. The panel spoke of the strong potential offered by disruptive innovation to enhance mental health and wellbeing, and the importance of a quantitative approach that can be used to assess changes within the spectrum of mental health.
Reporter – Dr Sandy Chong