Interview with Psychology Melbourne and Author Jill Wright
About Jill: Jill Wright is the founder and Executive Director of Psychology Melbourne. She oversees the daily running of Psychology Melbourne's corporate services and ensures that managers and employees are matched to the right psychologist. She enjoys helping small to medium sized businesses, who often struggle with low productivity and time consuming staff problems. Her team of psychologists are trained to assist managers and employees resolve workplace issues in a confidential and efficient manner. She is also on the Board of the Australian Psychological Society.
[OnlineCounselingPrograms.com] When and why did you originally start a blog about the latest developments on “the science of the mind”?
[Jill Wright] As a prominent psychology practice we have platforms such as a Facebook page, Instagram page and website to promote mental health. This is one of the key reasons blogging holds so much importance to us here at Psychology Melbourne. We have the luxury to get our voice across to variety of groups and individuals. Blogging is a great way to raise people’s mental health awareness. A factor which has become increasingly important to promote due to the lingering stigma surrounding mental health in the present day. Each blog has the potential to enlighten someone and change the way they view mental health.
[OnlineCounselingPrograms.com] What do you hope to achieve by maintaining Psychology Melbourne?
[Jill Wright] By maintaining the blog we hope to provide advice to individuals and to raise awareness about common mental health issues and the solutions to resolving them. The blogs are a great resource for all.
[OnlineCounselingPrograms.com] We highlighted Dr. Giovanna Lajbcygier’s post, “Burnout vs Depression,” because it does the important work of distinguishing between two rather common phenomena in today’s fast-paced working world. How can psychologists and other mental health professionals take preventative steps against burning out?
[Jill Wright] Being a psychologist or mental health professional can be mentally, physically and emotionally taxing. Preventative measures against burning out include:
- Not overloading their workload. After seeing clients, psychologists have to record and document their sessions which adds to the length of a session. It is important that mental health professionals are allowing enough time for them to see clients and to get their administration work done within the day without compromising lunch or rest breaks.
- Just like anyone else it is important that they focus on the basics, such as eating right, exercising and taking time out for themselves.
- It’s important to say no, if they feel like their workload is already overwhelming. Taking on new responsibilities can burn them out further. Practice positive thinking.
- Re-asses their goals and identify what they want to achieve and why. This will help with identifying values and thinking about what gives them meaning and what may be missing from their life or work.
[OnlineCounselingPrograms.com] In addition to working with individuals to improve their personal mental health, Psychology Melbourne as a private practice also “[shows] organizations how they can create psychologically healthy workplaces.” What are some of the common psychological challenges that workplaces experience?
[Jill Wright] The most common psychological challenge is dealing with stress and workplace stressors. Excess stress can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Stress could be due to:
- too much work / overwhelming amount of work
- career transition
- redundancy and outplacement
- conflict in the workplace
- workplace bullying
[OnlineCounselingPrograms.com] What advice would you give to both workplace leaders and employees to cultivate supportive work environments?
[Jill Wright] The Australian Human Rights Commission actually has very good suggestions surrounding what employers should do to create a supportive work environment. “All employers and managers are obliged to take appropriate steps to eliminate and minimise health and safety risks in the workplace. In terms of mental illness, as an employer or manager you are obliged to: identify possible workplace practices, actions or incidents which may cause, or contribute to, the mental illness of workers; take actions to eliminate or minimise these risks. Your occupational health and safety (OHS) obligations extend to any workers with mental illness. Recognising and promoting mental health is an essential part of creating a safe and healthy workplace. Importantly, managers and workers both have roles to play in building a safe work environment, one that will not create or exacerbate mental health problems and where workers with mental illness are properly supported.
Research shows that developing a combined ‘systems’ approach that incorporates both individual and organisational strategies is the most effective way to intervene in relation to job stress and to improve employee health and health behaviours. Ideally, these strategies to address mental health should then be integrated with broader OHS management processes. Risk factors that could cause physical or mental illness or injury should be systematically identified, assessed and controlled by eliminating or minimising such risk.” Furthermore employers: should aim to be understanding of their employee’s circumstances and situationsl allow for flexibility in the workplace; and continually monitor the wellbeing of their employees.
[OnlineCounselingPrograms.com] How do you come up with new ideas to blog about?
[Jill Wright] The world of psychology is vast and ever-changing so there is always something new to write about. Every month we have one of our psychologists write about the issues they find to be of most relevance or importance. For example one our latest blogs looks at the potential that young people encompass. Youth mental health issues are on the rise and promoting positive messages about them not only encourages them but also raises awareness around this issue. Another one of our more recent blogs explored the different benefits of talking to oneself. Self-talk is common amongst all individuals, which is why we thought it to be important people understand the importance of what they say to themselves.
[OnlineCounselingPrograms.com] What do you believe are some of the common reasons that prevent people from getting the psychological treatment they need?
[Jill Wright] The main reason people hesitate to seek psychological help is because of the social stigma surrounding mental health. The 21st century has brought with it a lot of good things, but old fashioned views around mental health are still prominent. People are still under the misconception that looking after your mental health is a bad thing. That if you seek psychological health there must be something seriously wrong with you; you must be “crazy.” What many people fail to understand is that mental health should be treated the same as physical health. When someone breaks an arm we tell them to go see a doctor. When someone has anxiety and depression we tell them to “get over it” when really we should be directing them to get the help they need to have a healthy mindset. Why do we place so much more importance on our body than our mind? For comparison, look at two ways you manage your physical health – a visit to your GP versus working out at the gym.
Therapy is unique in that it acts as the psychological equivalent of both the GP and the gym. We go to therapy to treat problems as well as improve an already decent life. The second most common reason that people do not seek help is because of severity. Quite often people wait until things get really bad before they seek help. It’s kind of like when you have a fever and cough, you think that there’s no point seeing a doctor because it’ll just go away, but eventually those small symptoms can turn into the flu. Similarly, people often think that they’re just having a bad couple of months or that the way they feel or think is justified for their circumstances. While that may be true, they help their situation by seeking help from a mental health professional. Like with all things, seeking help earlier is better. Other reasons include money, time, emotional stress and the idea of getting started.
[OnlineCounselingPrograms.com] Is there anything else you’d like to add?
[Jill Wright] As a prominent psychology clinic we have platforms such as a Facebook page, Instagram page and website to promote mental health. Which is one of the key reasons blogging holds so much importance to us here at Psychology Melbourne. We have the luxury to get our voice across to variety of groups and individuals.
Thank you, Jill! Learn more about Psychology Melbourne on our Top Psychology Blogs list.
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