5 TAKEAWAYS | Mental Health in AV Today
The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly changed the way we work, live and interact, causing additional burden and heightened stress on our mental wellbeing. Working within a fast-paced sector that is the AV industry, can take a significant toll: long hours, company acquisitions, career changes or loss of employment or business opportunities are challenges to the workforce that can create long lasting impact on our mental health. This AVIXA® panel discussion raised awareness of the mental health conversation in AV and offered information and pathways for mental health support available to individuals and organisations. Information about support services for those who are suffering, regardless of their source of hardship was provided. To find out more information on mental health support visit – www.avixa.org/mental-health
If you missed the session or would like a recap of the session check out our 5 takeaways below!
1.What can we do for self-help? Having a mental health toolkit.
The topic of mental health in the workplace is no longer taboo. Businesses need to communicate their priority to their employees of providing a health and safety plan that includes mental health for their employees.
We’re very familiar with this with our physical health. So we need to try and address how to do it for our mental health and build on our emotional intelligence – how well you know yourself and how well you can read others.
- Identifying what it is that makes us feel good – knowing ourselves in that sense is a really key thing. What motivates us? What keeps us going? What keeps us in a good and balanced place?
- Knowing those things that can knock us about and the trigger points that make us feel down. Also cutting ourselves some slack.
- Understanding the importance of social connection. When we are feeling down, realising one of the key things we can do is reach out to our network.
- Just like when it’s our physical health and we go to see a doctor, we need to treat it the same way for our mental health.
- Finding a language you can use to effectively talk about and communicate your mental health to others. Also finding your own safe network to reach out and say you are having a dull day. This can help us re-calibrate.
- If we’re feeling that we’re stretched beyond, it’s a case of reaching out for help.
- GPs are a great source to turn to to get help.
There is an incredibly high stigma of talking about our own mental health. We are happy to discuss other people’s but not our own.
“If we have big things happen to us or small things, we can now acknowledge that it’s part of who we are, as people.”
“Physically distancing, with social connection…That human connection has been a huge factor.” – Christine Morgan, National Mental Health Commission
2. Businesses need to communicate their priority to provide support to their employees.
Hard to deal with the disconnect right now. Physically distancing, but socially connecting is very important right now.
“You haven’t been able to always provide the answers to employees.” – Craig Glover, Diversified
There is the fundamental fact that none of us have any answers or experience in global pandemics is a huge difference in how we all deal with this.
“It provided a lot of comfort to our team when they knew that we were providing support for their health and safety.” – Kylee Naglost, Pro AV Solutions
“EAP has always been something we’ve had in our back pocket.” – Michael Walker, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
There are anonymous services offered – apps to get information and counselling services face to face. These services quickly adapted to the needs of restrictions – telephone counselling sessions, counselling over text, live chat on websites, etc.
“We found team meetings can be quite structured – so we encouraged the team to pick up the phone, organise online drinks or coffee catch ups, more social settings.”- Kylee Naglost, Pro AV Solutions
An employee’s working state of mind affects the home front as well. We need to ensure employees are well looked after across all facets, not just business. It all affects each other.
“Acknowledging from the get-go and from a leadership level that our mental health is just as important as our physical health.” – Christine Morgan, National Mental Health Commission
“Human error is always going to happen, it’s part of who we are…It doesn’t mean you’re less of an employees or weak, it’s important to ask for help. It’s ok to not be ok…What’s not ok is not reaching out for help.” – Christine Morgan, National Mental Health Commission
Adversity doesn’t discriminate. No one is immune to hardships. As leaders, we need to be vulnerable to have the conversation and be ok to share to provide comfort to our teams.
“Whether it’s a meeting with a client or anyone, the conversation on mental health is out there now. It’s really good. COVID is making sure that we are doing things like this today.” – Craig Glover, Diversified
3. Mental health first aid training
Mental health first aid certificate – peer support network at the MCEC.
The MCEC do a three day course where employees get a mental health first aid certificate.
“AV professionals make up around 25% of our staff. The key to our peer support network is that they connect and come across people from different departments.” – Michael
“It’s not reactionary, it’s looking for those signs, which is really hard to do.” – Craig Glover, Diversified
Just as each of us have an individual journey with our wellbeing, things affect each of us at different times and in different ways. ‘The norm’ is different for everybody.
“I would love to see a more formal approach for businesses to have that certificate in place just like we have first aid.” – Kylee Naglost, Pro AV Solutions
“When it comes to mental health, it’s more of a ‘can you just get alongside me?’ approach.” – Christine Morgan, National Mental Health Commission
4. Zoom fatigue?
There is a bit more of a relaxed approach to zoom sessions these days, it’s a positive sign now. It is providing a more personal connection with our colleagues.
“We are all human. We are all struggling in different ways. Seeing a bit more of a relaxed side has been a positive of all of this.” – Craig Glover, Diversified
“The thing with zoom, is that you’re constantly in focus. What we’re being fatigued by is the intensity of the connections. You’re in focus the whole time you’re on zoom. You feel talked out because you’re making the effort to connect.” – Christine Morgan, National Mental Health Commission
We are making more of an effort with our interactions. The ‘watercooler talk’ is gone. How do we have those more incidental connections virtually?
“It was a really lovely experience and brought us closer together, that you could hear the little ones in the background on teams meetings.” – Kylee Naglost, Pro AV Solutions
5. Key tips for engaging with staff on mental health
Craig: “The one thing I think we need to do is we shouldn’t think about mental health and the tools until we are in a bad headspace. We should be putting those measures in place when we’re in a good mind frame. Have those checks and balances in place when you have the capacity to think about it. Not just when you’re on your way to a bad mental state.”
Kylee: “Regular and open communication. Be calm as a leader and open and honest. Having that real level of awareness. Share with them the info and knowledge you have along the way. Old fashioned check ins along the way. Read body language, tone of voice, have a real level of awareness. It’s important to be mindful as a management team to see any signs across your team. Stay connected.”
Michael: “We’re not bulletproof either just because we’re in a leadership position. Treat yourself kindly. Share the load. Everybody has a different modality they they operate best in. It’s important to know your team and for those that need that one-on-one time, it’s important to give it to them or make it available for them. Set others up for success to help each other.”
Christine: “Encouraging people to work with their teams one on one. Everyone is going to have different reactions. Your management time may take more time now, this needs to be recognised. It slows us down, and this is important to take into account. We are dealing with humans. Be in the moment, what is it we can do to realise energy? Incorporate casual catch-ups, with a relaxed feel. We are individuals going through this together and we need to be flexible and adapt with the times.
Graham Evans, Executive Insight
Christine Morgan, National Mental Health Commission
Kylee Naglost, Pro AV Solutions
Craig Glover, Diversified
Michael Walker, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
A big thank you to our speakers for being a part of an Integrate first. And remember, there is still time to register!