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Psychological Health and Safety


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Workshop Session Plan
Key Learning Outcomes

Workshop Focus:

Psychological safety in the workplace is a topic that is receiving critical attention as claims and interventions for mental health rise in business and the community. To-date work, work health and safety has evolved from the workshop floor based on mechanised processes. Psychological injury is in a different basket and must be approached in ways that ensure psychological health is understood and maintained as balance. Psychological injury occurs in response to toxic cultures, rigid regimes, avoidance of social-emotional problems, ignorance of emotional intelligence, bullying, depression, workplace stessors and growing inner resistance to pressures. The workshop will overview what is psychological safety and examine a wide range of ways to approach this subject and transform mental health into psychological wellbeing.
A 2 hour briefing is available to briefly overview this topic.
A full day workshop is recommended (10-4pm)
Target Audience:
All staff and management, community groups, governing councils
Expected Outcomes:
Participants will emerge from the workshop with an real understanding and appreciation of how easy it is to harm others psychologically and how to prevent it. They will learn about what is psychologically harmful and what is healthy. They will learn about the invisible but real impacts that are in fact worse than physical violence. Ignoring psychological suffering can further exacerbate the problem without effective interventions. In reality this issue has no boundary everyone is responsible when they are confronted with psychological injury, all have a duty of care to assist. Participants will be informed about Psychological Health and Safety Management Systems together with current Worksafe guidance materials to encourage adaption of new ideas into workplace health and safety. Participants will become active participants in mitigation and support in respect of psychological issues.  Lastly and most importantly, they will learn about themselves and learn new skills on how to overcome toxic attitudes and behaviours, to speak up and transform their own approaches into healthy attitudes and behaviours.

This TEDx presentation video gives an excellent overview of building a psychologically safe workplace.


Psychological safety in the workplace is an emerging issue with 1:4 persons experiencing some form of mental health issue.  These problems arise as we experience resistance (fear) to various pressures of life that we believe we have no choice but to endure. It can be evoked from unhealthy communication, deliberate exclusion and isolation, sabotage, criticism and the range of psychological ways bullying is acted out. Organisational structures based on hierarchical, authoritarian, clinical mindsets together with poor or inefficient management can exacerbate worsening psychological health and safety.  Other factors such as labour saving technology can quicken the pace of work and rather than increasing leisure time as was originally professed, can indeed speed up the world of work.  As workloads increase and staff roles are cut, employees experience a loss of job satisfaction as their efficiency lessens due to structural changes. They often blame themselves and place enormous pressure on themselves to complete tasks, work back in order to not lose productivity, status, security or promotional opportunities.  Exhaustion sets in and they become less tolerant with others, with themselves and they start to experience growing anxiety as they feel a quantifiable loss of control. Communications with colleagues or subordinates become short, truncated, busy, demanding, aggressive. Their capacity for personal care and concern for others diminishes, social isolation expands as work loses its sense of fulfilment and enjoyment. Bullying can thrive in this type of pressurised culture as tempers flare, people do not have time to deal with matters, or dismiss them as a waste of time, conflict then festers and escalates as it is unresolved. If people do not know what to do they become vulnerable and hyper vigilant. This is how environments grow in toxicity and impact seriously on mental health. Mental health problems arise out of the belief that a person feels they have no control over their lives.  They feel they are psychologically drowning and overwhelmed. Powerlessness to affect change and growing negativity (disempowerment) drives to the core of psychological distress, imbalance, self esteem and injury.  Socially, mental health is a taboo subject so further silence and isolation occurs as people realise it could impact their careers as they can be labelled and demonised as a mental case. This renders many silent in quiet desperation preferring to take anti-depressants to suppress pain and stimulants to keep going. Eventually they must hit a wall, this can express in sudden workplace violence, abuse, harassment, bullying, revenge or shutting down and possible suicide. The toxic behaviours of bullying and overt/covert violence are illegal and can expose the organisation to penalties, legal ramifications, critical incidents and publicity which adversely affects the enterprise or organisation.  It is therefore essential that psychological safety is discussed, understood and implemented as continual improvement for the wellbeing of all.

Imagine walking into a healthy workplace where people live the ascribed values and skills such as: inclusivity, openness, learning, questions and problem solving, respect, honesty, empathy, friendliness, non-judgement, support, responsibility and accountability. These are the workplaces that will be on the leading edge of innovation, productivity, positivity and fulfilment. They will be future ready. Psychological safety is the precipice where great things can happen.


Workshop Session Plan

  • —Overview of mental health in Australia
  • What is psychological injury?
  • What are key factors that facilitate psychological distress?
  • What are Toxic cultures
  • Why do people want to suicide
  • What is psychological safety?
  • What are healthy cultures?
  • What is Psychological Health and Safety in the workplace?
  • What type of management style is used? therapeutic, procedural or control based approaches?
  • Which is workable – punishment to change behaviour or empowerment to reach potential?
  • Worksafe guidance on workplace bullying and harassment
  • Introduction to a Psychological Health and Safety Management System
  • How can you develop a psychologically safe workplace?—
  • —Role play for sensitisation socio-emotional skills
  • Laugh out loud to experience psychological wellbeing
  • Summarise

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Key Learning Outcomes

  • Participants will have a basic awareness of mental health issues to take away the stigma
  • —Participants will learn how to identify psychological abuse in both covert and overt ways e.g. bullying
  • Participants will learn about what is psychological health and safety
  • Participants will develop an understanding about what causes psychological distress and injury and how to intervene to prevent harm
  • Participants will learn about the features and factors that cause toxic cultures and what promote healthy cultures?
  • Participants will discuss the bullying and harassment issues and how the psyche is impacted
  • Participants will learn communication skills to prevent psychological injury
  • Participants will learn about empathy and values to ensure psychological wellbeing
  • Participants will learn about psychological health and safety in the workplace
  • Participants will learn about a Psychological Health and Safety Management System and Worksafe guidance
  • Participants will discuss values and reflect on authentically lived values
  • Participants will integrate and sensitise social emotional skills through role plays to determine what is healthy and what is not (abuse)
  • Participants will learn about involvement in psychological safety and discuss support
  • Participants will develop ideas on how psychological safety in the workplace can be improved.
  • Lastly, participants will have fun in a laughter session to experience psychological wellbeing.

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