ABC Approach to Mental Health

Help Employees with the ABC Approach to Mental Health

This is not the beginning of a 26-alphabet response to a major health issue like mental health.

Instead, it is taking some wonderful research by Professor Rob Donovan and his colleagues and applying the ABC principles in a most practical manner. Optimum have been fortunate to convert the ABC concept into an online profile to help individuals get a better understanding of how their behaviours are influencing their mental health. In addition, we have been able to point out where individuals could nurture these behaviours to manage their mental health better.

A quick recap of ABC

A= Activity – is associated with higher levels of physical, cognitive and social activity leading to higher levels of wellbeing and head health. The data we have collected over the last 5 years indicates there is a great deal to do on this aspect of mental health. Employees are not active enough to gain the benefits. 36% of employees are in the high risk, red zones, with only 20% in the desired level of activity (green zone).

B= Belong – is linked to involvement in group activities, interest groups, support groups. It is this support of the groups that provide vital aspects for maintenance of positive mental health, physical health and wellbeing. The belong element brings strong connectedness and social cohesion. The data we have indicates this is the more positive, dominant element in employees’ ABC profile. 45% of employees are in the green or desired zone. 18% are in the not so desired red zones.

C= Commit – is about undertaking activities that provide meaning and purpose in life. Volunteering and committing to activities that benefit your community. Doing things that make you feel good about yourself and aiming to improve your quality of life. The data we have indicates there is work to do in this element. It returns a similar response to Activity scores. 42% are in the red zones. 17% are in the desired green zone.

When the data is aggregated to create an overall wellbeing score it indicates that 33% of employees are in the red zone and 20% are categorised as being in the green or desired zone.

Mental health under the ABC classifications indicates there’s a great deal to be done to better manage the issue.

These data are alarming and yet there could be some simple solutions offered to all employees to mitigate the increasing risk of adverse mental health. We have another profile that looks specifically at other elements of mental health – depression, anxiety and stress. This profile complements the data obtained with the ABC profile and highlights the specific impact anxiety levels are having on workforces. This supports the findings under ABC.

By changing a few basic behaviours, the mental health of the country’s workforce could be improved.

The ABC approach could also be viewed as a simple, yet potentially effective, starting point to build a safer psychological environment at work.

Encouraging and rewarding behaviours that increase levels of activity, continue to grow the more dominate belonging element and fostering individuals to volunteer in the community for the greater good…could be a start. The data tells us there is a great deal to do to shift the dial in the workplace on mental health. It must start somewhere and while this approach would complement the more traditional professional services offered in the workplace, the ABC approach can be done anytime, anywhere with anybody.

It must be worth a shot given the average Workers Compensation Claim for non-physical injuries in the workplace is $216,000 – according to Safework Australia.

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