Every Sunday evening, a groan can be heard from Canberrans. The weekend is fast disappearing, Monday morning is approaching, and the blues are setting in. Even after the best of weekends, there’s a cloud that can descend. There is a good chance you know that feeling too well. I certainly feel it.

According to Lifeline Canberra CEO, Carrie Leeson, more people call Lifeline on Sunday evenings than any other time. Having to face going back to work in the morning and the anxiety and stresses of the week ahead can sometimes be too much.

Many people take that cloud of anxiety with them to work throughout the week and it can start to gain a stronger hold on them. Ms Leeson said making mental health less of a stigma in the workplace can help those who are struggling.

“Everyone knows how to administer first aid and we all hope that we never have to use it. We think that we need that CPR and life-saving techniques in the skillset just in case we need to use it, but very few people say that we need the same for mental health. How many people learn mental health or suicide first aid?”

“Normalising and allowing conversations about mental health in the workplace makes it so much easier for those who have that stigma and are worried about reaching out for help,” Ms Leeson said.

Cade Brown, president of Lifeline Canberra and a partner at Callida Consulting, said that self-care is important to him and his firm.

“We have a monthly breakfast at Callida since we are committed to being a people first organisation. One thing that we thought could help and encourage our staff was to get Carrie in and talk to our team about how to look after yourself and how to look out for your colleagues. She shared tips on both self-care and also what to look out for around a colleague whose well-being you might be concerned about.

“The response that we got publicly and privately from our staff about that breakfast was unprecedented, genuine and deep. We have held quite a few follow-ups since then and we will be holding a similar session in June.”

“The way Carrie spoke and presented on practical things to do made it one of the best breakfasts for our firm. We will have many meetings this year, but we will not have a more important meeting than that one,” Mr Brown said.

Ms Leeson said that Lifeline is about to acquire programs to help with mental health in the workplace.

“With the board’s support, we have been able to reach out and acquire programs from Canada which will actually enable and give confidence to management on how to accommodate someone with mental ill health in the workplace. We have “Return to Work” for physical injuries but nothing for mental injuries.”

Ms Leeson thanked local Canberra businesses like Callida for helping Lifeline change the lives of Canberrans.

“When we set up events, whether it is the gala or touch football, we know that Callida is going to take a team or a table, so they really underpin the success that enables Lifeline to grow and ultimately save lives.”

Mr Brown sees a real alignment in values between Callida and Lifeline and supporting Canberra’s own.

“We are Canberra’s own, supporting Canberra’s own, and that drives us to help any opportunity to support Canberrans.”

If you are feeling overwhelmed with anxiety and stress at work, call Lifeline on 131114

This article was first published on RiotACT.

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