Like she did in the pool during her illustrious swimming career, Queensland Mental Health Ambassador Libby Trickett is looking for ‘PBs’ heading into Mental Health Week (5-13 October).
The four-time Olympic gold medal winner shares her personal experience with mental health issues to raise awareness and promote the importance of mentally healthy workplaces.
“It’s hard to relive your own painful experiences, yet alone share a family history of poor mental health and depression – but these kinds of stories need to be told and I’m opening up about mine,” Ms Trickett said.
“Mental Health Week puts the spotlight firmly on the issue and we need to have these candid conversations.
“I suffered depression after stepping away from the pool in 2010. But with the help of family and friends, as well as professionals, I’ve been able to bounce back.
“One thing that helped me turn things around was exercise, so I’m all about finding positives in people’s lives which give them renewed focus and hope.”
In her role as Queensland’s Mental Health Ambassador, Ms Trickett visits workplaces across the state talking about her recovery.
“It was a very difficult time for me and it takes a lot of courage to finally admit you’re not okay,” she said.
“I felt really isolated, I felt very lonely during that time, but it was the support and the love and the connection that I had with my family and friends which allowed me to push through it.
“Every day in our lives we should connect with people, be it family, friends or work colleagues, and just check to see if they are okay.”
One of the highlights of Mental Health Week is the Mental Health Forum on World Mental Health Day (10 October).
Hundreds of work health and safety professionals and business leaders will gather at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Thursday 10 October to learn more about suicide prevention, resilience, workplace interventions and the impact of psychologically unsafe work environments.
Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said the Mental Health Forum was about promoting education, awareness and advocacy.
“There is no doubt that mentally healthy workplaces have benefits for all – individuals, families, businesses and the broader community,” Ms Grace said.
“It goes without saying that workplaces benefit too when everyone is in the right head space. There’s better worker engagement and job satisfaction, fewer workers’ compensation claims, increased productivity, as well as less absenteeism and staff turnover.
“It’s estimated poor psychological health and safety costs Australian organisations $6 billion each year in lost productivity.
“This includes workers who may not necessarily be suffering from a mental health condition but are impacted by stressful and unsupportive workplaces,” she said.
For information and resources to create a mentally healthy workplace, visit worksafe.qld.gov.au.
Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations
The Honourable Grace Grace