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Mental illness greater issue

MENTAL health and psychology were once considered the exclusive domain of the fatally ill or the fanatical hypochondriac.

Today, not only are they very serious key issues in the private and family lives of millions, but large corporations are also examining the issue with greater interest and sincerity.

Psychology and mental health are no longer about just getting along, they’re about getting ahead.

Pursuing the idea that an increase in the general mental well being of employees will lead to an increase in productivity, many businesses have invested significant money into training employees in techniques ranging from time management, to mediation to dealing with difficult people.

It’s not surprising that services to meet this increased demand are making themselves known in almost every city in the country – and Perth is no exception.

One look at the amount of revenue raised by pharmaceutical like Pfizer from the simple sale of anti-depressants and it becomes clear that mental health has become an extremely profitable business.

Occupational Services of Australia (OSA) is one of Australia’s leading providers of Employee Assistance Programs and corporate psychological services.

Corporate mental health is something OSA takes very seriously – the range of workshops offered by this new age company is astounding.

Its 1999 National Training Catalogue lists more than 40 psychologically based corporate techniques and workshops under the title of a dozen categories, all designed to improve the well being and productivity of corporate employees.

Everything from hostage and siege management, mental illness in the workplace, to dealing with difficult people on the phone is covered.

But it is probably workshops such as “Strategies to Reduce Absenteeism, Sick leave and Turnover” that really prickle the ears of bosses and managers.

OSA divides that particular workshop into two categories, attacking the problem from the perspectives of both health and psychology.

They examine the reasons why employees take time off, the impact of work on health, the psychological factors that reduce productivity, how to deal with low moral, how to keep moral high and strategies for motivating employees.

For obvious reasons, OSA recommends this workshop for those in a supervisor role, managers, team leaders and supervisors.

Important politically correct issues are also addressed with workshops like “Dealing with gender issues in the workplace”.

Common problems like team cohesion, insensitivity, discrimination, sexual harassment and leadership problems, are all issues that can stem from gender issues in the workplace, and are all, at best, avoided.

Taking your employees through a basic workshop such as this could not only save you from a costly law suit, but may well make things in general run that little bit more smoothly in the workplace.

This particular course tackles gender issues head on, covering both misogyny and man-hating.

Other workshops like “Balancing Work and Family” may appear, on the surface to be less relevant for employees, but considering the emotional and psychological impact families have on most individuals, it may well be of equal importance.

The work and family workshop focuses on issues like assessing priorities, time management and working effectively.

There are also three other family oriented workshops including children and learning, helping children through separation and divorce and being a parent.

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