Resilience First Aid – Proactively Managing Workplace Psychosocial Risks
Psychosocial risks include factors such as job stress, workplace conflict, and lack of support. These have a significant impact on employees’ mental health and wellbeing. To promote mentally healthy workplaces, the New South Wales (NSW) Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy emphasises the importance of preventive measures in addressing these risks.
Following the introduction of this strategy, many organisations have found themselves liable for not doing enough to ensure the wellbeing of their employees. Not only that, but many also feel unsure about what to do to show the organisation is putting the right programs in place to help address psychosocial risks.
Not only this, VIC’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Workforce Strategy and QLD’s Mentally Healthy Workplaces Toolkit also emphasises the importance of maintaining employee mental safety, highlighting the importance of this across Australia, but also around the world.
These risks have been on our mind for a long time, which is where we’ve been conducting research and building a suite of tools to help businesses proactively develop a culture of safety and mitigate these risks.
In particular, Resilience First Aid (RFA) is an accredited proactive mental health certification that aligns with this strategy, focusing on building resilience and advancing a supportive environment to help manage psychosocial risks in the workplace.
The Importance of Prevention in Mental Health and Workplaces
Prevention is essential in mental health, as it is often more affordable and accessible than reactive treatment. Our research has shown that 9 out of 10 people can benefit from increased resilience skills, which can protect against depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges. Considering that 50% of people will experience mental illness in their lifetime, and only two-thirds will discuss it with a trusted confidant, early intervention and support are crucial.
The high prevalence of mental health issues in the workplace results in significant financial consequences, with billions of dollars lost annually due to reduced productivity. By adopting a preventive approach, such as implementing RFA training, organisations can promote proactive mental health practices that not only help employees build resilience but also facilitate early identification and intervention, reducing costs and burdens on individuals, communities, and society.
Limitations of Crisis Intervention
Many organisations focus on crisis and postvention programs. While these programs play a crucial role in providing immediate support and care for individuals experiencing mental health emergencies, it does not address the root causes of mental illness or reduce its occurrence.
Crisis intervention is a reactive measure that focuses on managing symptoms and addressing immediate concerns after a mental health issue has emerged. This approach can be essential in saving lives and stabilising situations; however, it does not prevent the development of mental health issues or build long-term resilience.
The limitations of crisis intervention highlight the importance of adopting a more preventive strength-based approach, such as Resilience First Aid (RFA), to proactively address psychosocial risks in the workplace. By focusing on early intervention, skill-building, and fostering a supportive environment, RFA offers several advantages over crisis intervention:
- Targeting root causes – RFA addresses the underlying factors contributing to mental health issues, such as psychosocial risks and lack of resilience, rather than solely managing the symptoms. This proactive approach helps to create a mentally healthy workplace, reducing the likelihood of mental illness
- Strengthening resilience – RFA emphasises building resilience skills, which can protect against mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. By teaching employees to recognise signs of low resilience and providing tools to bolster resilience, RFA equips individuals with the skills to cope with stressors more effectively
- Fostering a supportive work environment – Through strength-based communication methods like the ALL Protocol, RFA promotes the development of meaningful connections and a culture of mutual support among colleagues. This supportive network helps mitigate the effects of psychosocial risks and reduces the chances of mental health issues arising in the first place
- Early identification and intervention – RFA encourages proactive conversations about mental health and resilience, allowing for earlier identification of potential issues. Early intervention is crucial in preventing the escalation of mental health problems, minimising the need for crisis intervention
While crisis intervention remains an essential component of mental health care, it is not sufficient to reduce the occurrence of mental illness. By adopting a more preventative strength-based approach, such as Resilience First Aid, workplaces can proactively address psychosocial risks, build resilience, and create a healthier, happier, and more supportive environment for employees. This shift in focus from reactive to proactive measures is crucial for fostering a mentally resilient society and reducing the overall burden of mental health issues.
How Resilience First Aid Helps Manage Psychosocial Risks
RFA is an accredited 2-day mental health certification that teaches strength-based skills to support resilience in others and build meaningful relationships. It aligns with the NSW Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy by addressing psychosocial risks in the following ways:
- Building resilience – RFA provides training on spotting signs of low resilience in others, using effective communication to engage in proactive conversations, and developing skills to help build their resilience. This promotes a positive work environment and reduces the impact of psychosocial risks
- Encouraging meaningful connections – The ALL Protocol, a core component of RFA, teaches a strength-based approach to communication that fosters meaningful connections among colleagues. This supportive environment helps mitigate the effects of workplace stress and conflict
- Enabling self-care – RFA emphasises the importance of self-care for employees, providing tools to build their capacity to support themselves and others sustainably. This reduces the risk of burnout and compassion fatigue, enhancing overall wellbeing
- Ongoing resources and assessments – RFA provides access to tools and assessments that help employees continuously build their resilience, promoting sustainability in maintaining mentally healthy workplaces
Resilience First Aid offers a unique, proactive approach to managing psychosocial risks in the workplace, aligning with the NSW Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy. Especially being a fully accredited and science-backed program, RFA can give organisations confidence in that they are providing a compliant program with a high-quality experience that contributes to a cultural uplift.
By focusing on prevention, building resilience, and fostering a supportive environment, RFA contributes to the creation of mentally healthy workplaces that benefit employees and organisations alike. Investing in RFA certification for management and employees demonstrates a commitment to mental health and wellbeing, paving the way for a healthier, happier, and more resilient workforce.
Implement RFA more broadly in your organisation or to your clients by becoming a Resilience First Aid Instructor. Click the button below to learn more.