Sun. Apr 5th, 2020

Bullying at work lies at heart of NZ’s mental health …

Bullying at work lies at heart of NZ’s mental health …

a person sitting at a table© 123RF

An anti-workplace bullying group has suggested this country’s mental health crisis is in large part the result of bullying at work.

CultureSafe is holding a meeting in Christchurch this afternoon to raise awareness of what it says is a growing problem.

Its director, Allan Halse, said he has 140 clients across the country right now, and many of them will be taking personal grievance cases against their employers.

He said the consequences of bullying can be huge for people’s mental health.

“Each year tens of thousanders of New Zealanders bullied at work enter the mental health system and then the government runs an inquiry into why we have a mental health crisis, but it’s simply because we are pushing more and more people into that system.”

a man wearing a suit and tie© RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Halse said the health and safety regulator, WorkSafe, was failing to enforce the law which clearly stated employers needed to look after employees’ mental health.

He said until employers were held accountable, the problem would persist.

He also said he had been lobbying the government for years to take the problem seriously but had been ignored.

Halse believes workplace bullying in New Zealand is the second worst across the developed world.

“We deal with hundreds of cases of workplace bullying every year including sexual harassment, and that’s common across public service, DHBs, local government. It’s endemic across New Zealand …”

The meeting will be held in the Transitional Cathedral in Latimer Square starting at 3pm.

Guest speakers will include Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon.

Readers seeking support and information about bullying and harassment and where to get help:

  • Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason

  • Safe to talk: a 24/7 confidential helpline for survivors, support people and those with harmful sexual behaviour

  • Victim Support 0800 842 846

  • Youthline Free call 0800 37 66 33 or text 234

  • Bullying-Free NZ’s website

  • For online bullying, you can email help@netsafe.org.nz, text ‘Netsafe’ to 4282, call us toll free on 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723) or report online using our online form.

  • Kidsline 0800 54 37 54: NZ’s original telephone counselling service for all kids up to 14 years of age. Kidsline operates from 4pm to 6pm Monday through to Friday

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

Published at Fri, 14 Feb 2020 14:49:00 +0000

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