Mental Health Blogs

How Mindfulness Can Help Corporate Employees

Earlier this year, results from an Australian study of over 3,500 employees across 42 organisations from different industries found that one third of the participants were suffering from some form of mental disorder. Of those, 36% were suffering from depression, 33% from anxiety, and 31% from stress.

How Mindfulness Can Help Reduce Stress In The Workplace

In mindfulness workshops, most people raise their hand when asked if they have heard of the word before and are able to describe mindfulness as being more present and calm. So it’s safe to say, Mindfulness has become a widely familiar term.

What Is Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a powerful tool that can help people to slow down, and connect with the present moment. Mindfulness not only trains people to experience the world through our five senses and be more open to what life has to offer.

Peter Diaz Interviews Michelle Duval on The Future of Work

Peter Diaz from the Workplace Mental Health Institute interviews Michelle Duval on the future of work and her experience on SBS ‘The Employables’

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an Anxiety disorder that is triggered as a result of some serious trauma. The Diagnostic Statistic Manual version V states that “Post traumatic Stress Disorder is characterized by the reexperiencing of an extremely traumatic event accompanied by symptoms of increased arousal and by avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma. (DSM-VI)”

First Aid for Mental Health Problems – W.A.R.M.

So you think someone you know maybe experiencing a mental health problem? Then the big question is ‘so what do I do? How do I respond now?

There’s no perfect thing that will always ‘work’ 100% of the time, because people are people, and we are all different, but there are definitely some clear principles, that are considered best practice when responding to someone who might be becoming unwell.

How to Ask ‘R U OK?’

Often people feel a little awkward asking someone if they are OK, when they’re worried about them. One reason could be that they don’t want to interfere, but when it comes to mental health, we must ask

Randi Zuckerberg, Emi Golding and Peter Diaz on Resilience at Work

Workplace Mental Health Institute’s CEO Peter Diaz and Director of Psychology Emi Golding talk with Randi Zuckerberg, CEO of Zuckerberg Media

Products or People? Systems or Staff?

Providing coaching to personnel from their direct manager could be an investment that continues to pay returns. The Sales Executive Council conducted research into the impact of coaching effectiveness within organisations. The global study, including more than 3000 participants identified findings which include:

Focus on the Learning, Not the Lesson

Many recruits found the style of their instructors to be intimidating and scary, leading some of them to have second thoughts about their worthiness to be a soldier. Upon seeking some guidance, recruits would reflect that they weren’t cut out for the role.

My Main Peeve About Workplace Mental Health and what Steve Wozniak (co founder of Apple) told me about it

I’m a pretty positive guy. I actively practice positivity and this builds resilience. But today, just today, I have to share one of my peeves, if that’s ok. Most people I meet intellectually know and agree that mental health at work is important and…

5 Ways Emotional Intelligence Can Make You a Better Leader

Emotional intelligence, often noted as EQ or EI, is a person’s ability to recognize, understand, manage, and influence their emotions and other people’s emotions. The concept emerged after decades of research suggested that IQ…

17 Things Your Workplace Can Do For Mental Health Month Activities

Three elements that contribute to a sense of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace are feeling valued, connected to others, and safe. Mental Health Month gives us an opportunity to reach out and let people know that they matter. That they matter to us. Design your mental health month activities with…

5 More Subtle Signs of Workplace Bullying

Unfortunately, workplace bullying often goes under the radar. Why? First of all, it’s not always as obvious as the overt name-calling, shoving, and teasing that we have come to associate with made-for-TV bullies. Secondly, bullying can be embarrassing: a team member…

On R U OK Day: How Managers Can Make It Easier For Staff To Say, “I’m Not OK”

On R U OK? Day we’re reminded that leaders play an important role in safeguarding and supporting the mental health of their teams. Asking after the mental health of a team member is the first step, and a very important one, in creating a more mentally healthy workplace.

3 Ways To Break The Stigma Around Mental Health At Work

Stigma has a powerful influence in the world of mental health issues. Society at large often views people living with mental disorders as unstable, dangerous, or even violent. People with mental health challenges are often believed…

What Most People Don’t Know About Psychological Injury at Work

Psychological injury is also known as psychiatric injury, and it includes all mental, emotional and physical injuries acquired from the place of employment. Employees that suffer from apsychological injury due to an employer’s negligence can take legal steps against their employers…

Mental Health and Productivity. Why Managers Need Mental Health Courses

Workplace Mental health is an issue of grave concern. In fact, it is one of the leading causes of absenteeism from work. Mental health problems at work can cause immense suffering to those experiencing them, and those around them…

8 Tips On How To Develop Resilience For Surviving The Modern Workplace Mentally Healthy

By resilience we mean the ability individuals have to bounce back quickly and with a minimum of fuss. Resilient employees have the capacity to handle the strains of the contemporary workplace. This means that they can manage stress well without necessarily placing their jobs in jeopardy.

Mental Stigma And Stress In The Workplace: Employers Need To Pay Attention To Workplace Stress Factors

Employees undergoing mental distress affect most, if not all, organisations. This trend explains why people often take a day or two off work. To make matters worse, many individuals often experience anxiety when faced with the thought of confronting and…

Workplace loyalty is dead. Or is it?

Looking around at today’s organisation and it would seem as though employee loyalty to their organisation and organisations’ loyalty to their employees is dead. For many of today’s workforce, the greener grass at the other company or new position…

The Pivotal Generation: How Today’s Teens Will Change the World

Peter recently was asked for his thoughts on ‘the pivotal generation’ and given perhaps their most defining trait of always being ‘plugged in’ to the internet and social media, what mental health challenges they may face, if any, in the workplace. Following is an excerpt from that interview.

When being the boss’ favourite can hurt your career

When you are seen as the “chosen one” in the office, your teammates and coworkers will inevitably begin to envy you. While it may appear inconsequential at first…

How to Avoid Taking on Too Much Work

In your first strategy meeting your team determines that you need to conduct interviews with managers, create and validate metrics for making hiring and promotion decisions, and work with senior leaders to ensure the system is in keeping with corporate culture.

High performing teams are great, but are you playing the right position?

One of the most interesting theories is that of team roles: the idea that teams that work together effectively have a balance of team roles. Each member understands their…

One of the most interesting theories is that of team roles: the idea that teams that work together effectively have a balance of team roles. Each member understands their strengths and how they contribute to the team’s skill set.

What Will The Rise Of The Unemployable And Useless Class Mean For You?

If you are at all up to date about what’s happening in the world of technology, you know AI (that’s Artificial Intelligence) is here and about to take over a large proportion of jobs that to date, only humans have been able to do. This is not future stuff, this is NOW stuff

Are Gen Xers the key to staying sane while managing a multi-generational workforce?

The problem with Millennials is that…’ is an expression often heard. Let’s face it, it’s not easy to manage a generation that is more in contact with technology than with people. At least that’s a common opinion. There is often talk about the contribution of Millennials to the workplace and the frustrations many members of other generations experience when working with them

5 Traits of Confident Leaders in Uncertain Times

While confidence is often defined by a self-assurance in one’s own abilities, uncertain times often work to diminish a leader’s confidence in their organisation, in their employees, and in themselves. So how does one keep their confidence when faced with uncertainty?

Hygge in the workplace

You may or may not be aware of the ‘Hygge movement’ that is happening globally at the moment. I’ve been asked to speak on this on a number of separate occasions over the last few months, so it seems it is a topic of some interest to many people out there, and it has particular relevant to workplace wellbeing.

Does Your Boss Have Your Back?

Let’s start with a couple of hypothetical scenarios. You have just been given a large project at work. You are excited at the level of responsibility you have been given and the opportunity to show your manager and colleagues what you can really do. As you begin to dig into the work, you discover just how much you are taking on.

The 4 Simple Strategies Top Performers Use To Neutralise Setbacks & Stay Confident

Wouldn’t it be nice if everything you touched turned to gold and just worked? And everyone loved it? BUT, guess what? That leadership development strategy you’ve been working on for the past three months? The CEO didn’t like it. Your carefully constructed and painstakingly recruited project team? About to be decimated due to budget cuts.

How do I lead authentically in a competitive culture?

Most Leaders I’ve met, and I’ve met thousands of them, love the idea of being an authentic, ‘real’, leader. What about you? I love it but, and there’s a big ‘but’ here, I have to say that it’s not easy in the current competitive market. Despite the rise of informal, matrixed organisations, the majority of companies…

3 Tips for Developing Your Team’s Emotional Intelligence

As many as one in five Australian workers suffers from a mental illness such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis, or substance abuse. And it’s not surprising that the majority are reluctant to tell their co-workers for fear of being treated differently.

4 Leadership Styles Every Leader Needs to Know

Have you ever given feedback to a team member and felt it wasn’t received well? Or communicated the outcome you want, and what’s eventually delivered doesn’t resemble what you asked for?

The Art of Managing Upwards

Sometimes, it’s easy to get too comfortable in your career, isn’t it? You come to a time where you can do everything that is expected of you easily, without a lot of stress. But, beware! you can, at this point start to feel a little less satisfaction.

5 Ways to Motivate Your Team for the New Year

A lot of employees find that motivation drags most in the weeks after Christmas holidays. To get the new year off to a positive start, you need to have powerful motivation strategies in place.

How Will You Lead Differently in the New Year

There’s no one right style of leadership. Each manager needs to make decisions based on the people who make up her team and what works best for them. However, it’s also true that there is always room for improvement. And that’ll be time well spent since good leadership is strongly associated with improved results overall.

Beat Post Holiday Blues With These 5 Steps

The holidays can be hectic. And, since even positive stress is still stress, they can wear people out. Even if the people on your team had only positive experiences throughout the holiday season, heading back to work afterward can leave everyone feeling let down. Productivity and mental health in the office can both suffer as a result.

5 Signs You Might Have a Toxic Culture

A toxic environment is a disease to any business. Unhappy people are demotivated and easily drawn out of the business, which, depending on the industry, can lead to the business having a bad reputation amongst potential employees. So not only is it important…

Office Rage: Handling Anger in the Workplace

Anger. Everyone feels it at some stage in their lives. Putting a person – any person – in the pressure cooker that is the work place for a period of time and they are guaranteed to get angry at some point. That includes you, the manager, as well. A strong leader knows how to…

Am I Leading or Bullying?

We know the script. Hard ass movie general breaks all the rules, saves world, emerges a hero. Visionary CEO fires people if they can’t describe the value they add to the company within the space of a lift ride, creates fanatical product following, investors rejoice. Political leader promises to…

The Rise Of The Robots

If you are at all up to date about what’s happening in the world of technology, you know AI (that’s Artificial Intelligence) is here and about to take over a large proportion of jobs that to date, only humans have been…

Building A Mentally Wealthy Workplace: 7th Pillar

How does your organisation demonstrate a commitment to developing its mental wealth?A clear tell tale sign is a preference for considered mental health initiatives over band aid solutions. That demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to developing its mental wealth. And these carefully considered and designed mental health initiatives must be ‘wrap around strategies’.

What Are The Legal Risks Of Choosing A ‘Humane’ Path When Managing Performance Of Someone With A Mental Health Problem?

I recently presented as a speaker at an ‘Employment Law for HR Managers’ Masterclass, held in Sydney. It was quite an interesting experience. First, because the focus was on employment law, whereas my specialty as a psychologist is in mental health, and also because I was engaged as a panelist, alongside three lawyers.

The Rise Of The Senseless Crime – What ’s Mental Health Got To Do With It?

Just a couple of days ago, in Brisbane out of all places, a man approached another man, and set him on fire. When the attacker appeared in court, he’s described as ‘numb’. Then we are informed that this man has a history of mental disorders. Is there a connection?

$1 Mil Payout For Bullying & Harassment At Work – Brace Yourselves

A court recently awarded $1 million to a NSW woman who was bullied in the workplace. That’s the largest amount we’ve ever heard of for workplace bullying. The Courts are getting serious!

It just goes to prove how serious the courts are getting about bullying and harassment in the workplace.

Why do many managers shy away from mental health at work?

It’s hard being a manager. Often, it can feel like you’re the meat in the sandwich, between the needs of the employees and the needs of the Senior Directors or Board. But when it comes to mental health, taking action can have a positive effect for both parties. And it’s great for business! So…

Building a Mentally Wealthy Workplace: 6th Pillar

I was chatting about life and medicine with an experienced doctor recently and he looked at me intently and said ‘you know what Peter? Wherever there is a human being there is a variable. We never have any certainty. Anything can happen’ He was talking about…

When Fear & Stress In The Workplace Raise Their Ugly Heads

Ever wondered how people screw themselves up? Simple, we do it because we are afraid. And it’s ok. Fear is a natural survival mechanism. It’s a good thing, designed to protect us. But what happens when fear runs rampant? When your body…

I’ve had enough

I remember like it was yesterday the moment I decided I was going to recover.

I looked in the bathroom mirror and I had one of those moments of clarity and in that moment I realised I had been a people pleaser, and that my life, was not my life.

What Does ‘Recovery’ Mean?

Often, when I deal with health professionals and people in training, I get a range of responses when they learn that people can recover from mental disorder. Some are surprised, some intrigued by the concept since they’ve

Building a mentally healthy workplace: 5th Pillar

Mutual responsibility is another trait of mentally wealthy workplaces, where a culture of blame is replaced by a culture of shared concern. From a workplace safety perspective, if someone sees a cord in the office over which someone could trip, whose responsibility is it to

If you are asking ‘R U OK?, you are a little late

Here in Australia, we recently celebrated RUOK day. Its an annual reminder to check in with friends and colleagues on their mental health. I think it’s a great initiative, bringing much needed awareness to mental health issues, in an attempt to reduce

‘Work-Life Balance’ is a trap

A colleague of mine was putting together some guidelines for her company about how to minimize workplace stress, and stay mentally and emotionally well at work, and she asked me to have a look over it and provide some feedback. Looking at the list of strategies her company had

What Can YOU Do About Stress at Work?

When it comes to workplace stress, and what to do about it, most people, most managers, will start to think about things in the workplace environment. Things that I would call ‘external factors’ like workload, overtime hours, the physical environment, etc. And these are all good considerations.

Workplace Stress – what are we really talking about here?

‘Workplace Stress’ is a term I am hearing people use more and more lately. And I like it. It highlights the fact that anybody can experience stress or distress in the workplace. You see, the Workplace Mental Health Institute specialises in the field of

What kind of father is worse?

I grew up with a father who loved me but was incapable of saying it. I knew he loved me because he’d discipline me very harshly and tell me it was for my own good, but in 50 years he was never able to say it. Even when I said it at the end of every phone call. Now, this is not strange.

How is your workplace’s Mental Wealth?

Back in 2014 I coined the new term ‘Mental Wealth’. Workplace Mental Wealth describes the business potential of an organisation, as a direct result of how well it fosters the mental health of its people. But what is it exactly? It’s a measure of your organisation’s ability to…

Why do so many workplaces fail at mental health?

There seems to be this idea floating about in the business world that in order to be profitable and productive, one needs to be hard and tough. Yet another contradictory idea seems to be that mental health is fluffy, soft, weak. Many people’s idea of…

Why 65% of people won’t get help if they have a mental problem

The reasons as to why people do anything, are many and complex. The research shows that around 65% of people won’t even seek treatment if they experience mental distress. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that stigma, discrimination and neglect prevent

Building a Mentally Healthy Workplace: 4th Pillar

What do mentally wealthy organisations differently to others? Good question, right? What Mentally wealthy organisations do is they see resilience and wellbeing as an integral part of their culture, in the extraordinary cases – it IS their culture. It’s not just an add on. Think back to

A dummy in each hand and one in the mouth – values and the smart manager

This morning as I reached into my pocket I felt a weird, clunky thing. I didn’t know what it was but then it hit me, a dummy! My son’s dummy (“pacifier” for our international audience) How cute…

Beware Declaring War on Bullying

A common mistake people make, especially at work, is to assume that it’s ‘others’ who are being a bully. And that bullying is an abuse of power by some other people more powerful than I. But this is self deceit. Many bullies…

Is Mental Health Really Getting Worse or Are We Just Talking About it More?

Across the ages, people have always experienced mental health issues. Whether it was overwhelming anxiety, depression, or even ‘psychotic’ episodes, which in past times would more likely have been explained in a spiritual reference…

3 little known things that are making people’s mental health worse

The mental health in the workplace is in crisis. Yet most people, even clinicians, don’t understand the depth of the problem. Here, we briefly reveal some problems in current approaches.

Few people have problems acknowledging that, as a society, we are over medicated.

Top 3 Tips for HR Managers

Recently, I was asked by a National HR Director for three tips she could give to a meeting of HR Leaders. She only had one hour. Here are my top three tips (mind you, these are the ones that come to the top of my mind straight away…

How can I address stigma in the workplace about mental health?

According to the studies, 9 out of 10 people experience some kind of discrimination in relation to mental health, and one in 10 employees have resigned as a result of feeling unsupported with a mental health condition. Many people think that the key…

Not At the Top of Our Priority List

The client sounded worried on the phone. We’d just been getting to know each other for the past few weeks; discussing the very real, and worrying, mental health needs of their staff, and today’s call was about setting up some dates for training. To my surprise…

Taking care of the bottom line through good mental health

I was reading an article from the UK about a lady who had a mental health crisis working in the retail industry, with a strict employer who constantly demanded their minimum wage employees push clients to spend thousands of pounds in one transaction. She…

When is the right time to talk about suicide?

It’s a beautiful morning. Its cold outside but the sun is shining. I’m sitting in a café across from the water starting my work day. And it hits me, today 8 people in Australia will take their own life. 8 people will feel so desperate, so alone, so hopeless,…

Two roles a manager should never play

Perhaps the main reason leaders get themselves into trouble is they aren’t clear on their role when resolving an employee mental health issue. There are two roles you should never take on: Counsellor: It’s not your job to counsel the employee and, in fact, doing so is…

We didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow we lost

Remember Nokia? I had a couple of their mobile phones once upon a time. One of my favourite phones, in fact. It was small, sleek, silver. Easy to carry. Easy to use. And stylish. It was perfect until…smartphones came on the scene. Why do I tell you this?

Learning to handle stress like a pro – techniques to avoid Professional Burnout

Last Tuesday we videoed a Mental Health Essentials Masterclass. One of the attendees asked, “How can we take care of ourselves when we seem to cop so many complaints within such a short time?”. She was concerned about being able to withstand the pressure.

3 Occasions Managers Should Not Be Trained in Mental Health

Even though there’s enough evidence now pointing to the fact that managers are key to an organisation’s mental health, and that having good mental health in the workplace actually contributes to the bottom line, this doesn’t mean all managers should be trained in mental

3 simple things managers can do to improve the emotional health of their teams

In my last blog, I explained how people need to feel valued, loved and wanted. I also explained that it’s normal for people to create situations to fulfil these needs. If managers do not work in tandem with these needs people will usually manufacture drama…

What If People Do Not Want Love?

I was talking to a group of Aboriginal leaders recently and one of them, in the break, asked me, tongue in cheek, this question, ‘What if people don’t want love?’ And because my message is always centred around compassion, this is relevant. I encourage managers to use

Building a Mentally Healthy Workplace: 3rd Pillar

A lot of managers ask me ‘Peter, how can we tell if someone REALLY has got a mental illness?’ They want to know if they are being manipulated and taken advantage of. Have you ever walked away with the feeling that someone was taking advantage of you in this area? It’s possible. And today I will show you how…

Building a Mentally Healthy Workplace: 2nd Pillar

Workplace mental health is a growing concern for many managers. Many of the traditional approaches to addressing mental health at work, are simply not working, and in some cases, are even making things worse! In this video series, the 7 Pillars of a Mentally Healthy Workplace, we…

Building a Mentally Healthy Workplace: 1st Pillar

I’m guessing that you are probably a manager and that you don’t need much convincing that working in a mentally healthy place is imperative. And you would also agree that managing mental health issues at work can be tricky. I agree! That’s why today I want to share with you one of The 7 Pillars for a Mentally Healthy Workplace.

What’s The Real Impact of Toxic Workplaces?

There seems to be general consensus on this one: some workplaces are a haven to work in and many others are toxic. Having a workplace where people can thrive is good business, and helps avoid a litany of problems. But, this is not just a one sided topic. Even in mentally healthy workplaces…

Are Managers Being Set Up to Fail?

Are we doing enough to support our leaders? I probably don’t have to remind you that leading a team is a tough gig. We place huge expectations on our leaders to meet budgets, hit deadlines, come up with creative solutions to keep demanding clients happy… The list goes on.

5 Signs You May Have a Mentally Ill Team Member

A certain amount of stress is normal, even desirable, in the workplace. But there are some red flags that point to a mental illness. These behaviours not only affect the performance of the person, but they cause disruption and conflict in the team.

You Don’t Really Care About Our Mental Health

Lawyers are a pretty up front bunch, and their feelings were made clear in a recent study by UNSW into lawyers’ perspectives on mental health & wellbeing programs in their firms. It’s really worth a read, providing an unvarnished view of how lawyers feel their firms are looking after their mental wellbeing.

Warning – Post Holiday Downers About!

A dear friend of mine called me two days ago. He said, ‘Peter, I haven’t been feeling too well (mentally). I think it’s because I’ve decreased my meds’. The interesting thing is, he’s not the only one that has expressed this. Maybe not in the same language, but the

Managing Work Stress Prior to Christmas

It’s a time when managers and HR professionals notice an increase in the number of employee complaints, performance issues, absenteeism and team conflict. In the counselling and psychology professions, Christmas / New Year is also when we see a sharp increase in the number of people reaching out for help.

Unlocking The Mysteries Of Workplace Madness – Part 3

What is it that makes certain workplaces mentally healthy while others toxic? In this last part of Mary’s interview, Mary talks about: What do you think? What, in your opinion, is the key ingredient to a mentally healthy workplace?

Unlocking The Mysteries Of Workplace Madness – Part 2

Good mental health at work can be tricky. The workplace is a place where rules of behavior need to be observed. So, what room is there for madness at work? Is there any? Mary O’Hagan made the point that madness should be respected. But how?

Unlocking The Mysteries Of Workplace Madness – Part 1 of 3

I love talking about mental health at work. In our Mental Health First Aid courses, I especially love talking to people about tips and strategies for dealing with a mental health emergency. So when I thought about interviewing Mary O’Hagan, I knew I had to make it happen! Mary brings a distinct flavor to mental illness or, as she likes to call it, ‘madness’.

When Work Becomes A War Zone

It’s been all over the news. Marcos Ambrose has punched Casey Mears after the race. These are role models to many people. And the racecourse is their workplace. What makes people think that it’s ok to bring violence, of any kind, into the workplace?

10 Essential Elements of a Workplace Wellness Strategy

1 in 5 people are impacted by mental health problems every year in Australia. That means that at least 1 in 5 of your employees will either experiencing a full blown mental health crisis, or an unidentified one. This is well known to impact on productivity, absenteeism, presenteeism, workplace injuries and accidents, and team morale.

When Your Body Speaks, Its Time To Pay Attention

Feeling run down? Aching muscles? Sore head? Listen to your body! Your body is always speaking to you, giving you directions about which decisions to make. It wants you to live a life in line with your path and your purpose. It’s just that it

The Importance of Mental Health First Aid

Mental health “first aid” means being able to help a person who is developing a mental health problem while professional help is found or the crisis clears. Learning MHFA empowers community members to actively identify those in need and train them to be able to help until professional help can be arranged.

7 Ways To Enhance Hope

One of the common themes that emerges from stories of people who have recovered from mental illness, is that of Hope. In studies of consumer recovery stories, it has been found that having Hope for a better future is a major, if not essential element of recovery. So, how do we help engender hope for someone living with mental illness

Zen and The Art of Effective Anxiety – 10 Tips To Hold On To Your Anxiety

It’s not always easy to hold onto your anxiety. At times, when you least expect it, a strong feeling of relaxation can come over you. To make matters worse, although anxiety is common, many people out there want to stop you from feeling anxious and uptight.

Avoiding Professional Burnout

No matter how much you enjoy your job, there are times when pressure or stress can start to take an emotional toll on you, particularly if you are in a service or healthcare related field. It is important to be able to spot the symptoms associated with professional burnout. Burnout occurs after a prolonged period of stress