When the festive season isn’t so merry for all

The office is awash with tinsel and baubles and the excitement amongst your employees is palpable as Christmas and the New Year edge ever closer.

However, this time of year is not always merry for everyone.

Amongst the rush of running a business in December, it is also important to take time out with and ensure staff who are struggling with the festive season are identified and supported.

According to beyondblue clinical adviser Dr Stephen Carbone while most people find the Christmas and New Year period stressful, those with anxiety or depression could find their condition escalates at the end of the year.

“Common triggers for people with mental health conditions during the holiday period include budget stress, being invited to more social engagements or being left on your own, and the pressure of living up to expectations,” Dr Carbone said.

“Stress is a fuel source for anxiety or depression, so the more stress there is the more those conditions flare up. Some people might start putting too much pressure on themselves about what they should buy or do for others. Others might dread catching up with family because it may end in conflict.”

Dr Carbone said people with mental health conditions should reduce the expectations on themselves so they can deal with the stress of Christmas and New Year.

For some advice on how to address mental health in the workplace – around Christmas and throughout the year – it is worth looking to Lendlease – one of the world’s largest multi-national construction, property and infrastructure companies.

The Australian HR Institute profiled Lendlease in November, quoting its head of HR Australia Chris Lamb as saying an employee survey was a wake-up call for the company.

A key initiative as a result of the findings was to instigate mental health first-aid training and the company now has 600 self-selected first aiders around the world, supported by senior leaders.

If you do have a staff member who is struggling to cope there are several options available, including beyondblue’s online forum thread titled CHRISTMAS 2017/NEW YEARS Chillout Lounge where people can seek support, join conversations or learn coping strategies.

Mental health professionals are also available 24/7 at the beyondblue Support Service – 1300 22 4636 or via beyondblue.org.au/get-support for online chat (3pm-12am ADST) or email responses (within 24 hours).

To discuss HR support and strategies for the wellbeing of your employees, don’t hesitate to call WCA Solutions on +61 8 9383 3293 or email us at admin@wcasolutions.com.