Psychological Health: The Often Hidden Side of Supporting a Healthy Workplace

Health and safety on the job are about more than the right equipment and training. Mental wellbeing is now just as important and finally something no longer taboo. The Safety Justice League hosts welcomed Deri Latimer to share her expertise on the subject. She is an author, speaker, and consultant who offer insights on psychological wellbeing, mental health, trauma triggers, and how to help people in the workplace.

Latimer said, “Safety professionals are expected to do so many things; now psychological safety is part of that.”

Latimer faced traumas early in life, one of the biggest being the loss of her father to a heart attack when he was only 45. “I learned that my father died from overwork. He was a classic example of the 24/7 worker mindset. It’s some better today, but there are still elements in our culture.”

From trauma came opportunity, as Latimer had a mission to make the workplace a better place. One of the biggest things she’s found that can make that difference is really checking in with people. “I encourage people to ask with caring and curiosity. If you notice something outside of the norm, then let them know they can come to you. It might save a life,” she added.

That doesn’t mean health and safety professionals need to become counselors. Rather they can provide resources for people to get the help they need. She recalled an incident at keynote she was giving when the AV tech fell asleep and missed a cue. “I asked him what happened, and he told me he had insomnia and was trying to get better but hadn’t slept in seven days. There are many of these people in the workplace every day.”

Latimer also addressed that health and safety professionals have a unique opportunity to look at the whole person. She encouraged those in the field to develop those skills that can make a difference.

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