Iceni was thoroughly engaged in States of Mind yesterday, learning from eminent industry leaders about mental health in the public service. Presented by the IPAA ACT and thoughtfully facilitated by Ashley Hay of the Griffith Review, States of Mind reminds us all of the nuanced mental health considerations across the public service in the times of a pandemic.
Guest speaker, Patrick McGorry AO suggested “research for reform” was a vital concept to be embraced in managing outcomes with an evidence base. He also prompted us to consider rephrasing ”mental health” as “mental wealth” to allow conversations and opportunities to be re-framed for a new approach to managing mental health. Professor McGorry was joined in conversation by Professor Pat Dudgeon a psychologist and Bardi woman, and Dr Steve Kennedy, Secretary to the Treasury and a former nurse.
The question of creating a sustainable ecosystem for mental health management where we are able to attract the best people to mental health practice was explored.
Questions too were asked around what might be different paths to productivity and work/life balances such as four day working weeks or working from home.
Professor Dudgeon says we are also seeing greater awareness of mental health consequences in the workplace and the importance of self-care. Safe guarding mental health of personnel is a cornerstone of many organisations now.
Ultimately, Professor McGorry suggested we need to de-stigmatise mental health and encouraged us to approach it as any other health condition or disease.
Finally the question was asked, what was the most important learning across the disruption of the pandemic and what can we thankfully leave behind? Secretary Kennedy says we generated a sense of perspective and allowed us to think about what we value.
Professor McGorry offered that the sensitisation of the entire population to issues of mental health during the pandemic might transform our country to managing mental wealth. He also hoped that we will be able to leave behind lockdowns for good!
Edition 72 of the Griffith Review, States of Mind, can be found here