Mental health: troubling workplace attitudes persist

Mental health: troubling workplace attitudes persist

A report has highlighted that some employers do not properly acknowledge and/or support employees who suffer mental health injuries, even in industries where employees are routinely exposed to trauma. The report into attitudes about mental health at Victoria Police, produced at the behest of Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton, was scathing. The report found that Victoria Police routinely neglect the mental health of its officers, many of whom deal with highly stressful events on a regular basis. Over 450 police officers were interviewed in the making of the report and many described situations where they were offered little to no mental health support. The report blames a'macho culture' within the force that tells officers to 'suck it up' when faced with difficult or traumatic workplace experiences. This unsupportive workplace culture has led to a reluctance from many officers to seek out help for fear of being considered'weak'. Sadly, since the year 2000, 23 police officers have taken their own lives, more than 200 are currently off work with mental health issues and innumerable others continue to suffer in silence. Yesterday, Chief Commissioner Ashton released a statement saying that Victoria Police is committed to improving the mental health of its officers and will implement all 39 recommendations made by the report. This is a promising start that we hope will lead to a cultural shift both at Victoria Police and at other employers. This cultural shift should assist in the development of a supportive, inclusive workplace mental health support system for all employees. If you or someone you know has developed an mental health injury/psychiatric illness due to trauma experienced in employment, we invite you to contact with one of our expert injury lawyers on (03) 9321 9988.

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