Mental health is important enough to need a strategic approach, not just tactics.  In this wide ranging conversation, David Burroughs and I explore his deep experience in mental health strategy. 

Hey, it’s Andrew, and this is Safety on Tap.

Since you’re listening in, you must be a leader wanting to grow yourself and drastically improve health and safety along the way. Welcome to you, you’re in the right place. If this is your first time listening in, thanks for joining us and well done for trying something different to improve! And of course welcome back to all of you wonderful regular listeners.

David Burroughs is an experienced psychologist, with many years of consultancy and strategic leadership in the area of mental health and illness at work.  And he spent an hour with you and I talking all about it. 

Here’s Dave:


Dave is a guy who is just flowing with the most logical and sensical things to say about mental health and mental illness.  We had a conversation like that, a few weeks ago, and I wish I had recorded that one for you too.  I could talk to him all day and still be learning new things and being challenged. 

I have three takeaways for you this week, and some other episodes to suggest for you, but first a message from our sponsor. 


Here’s my three takeaways from that chat with David Burroughs:

Takeaway #1: Strategy is underpinned by a clear connection between your objectives, how those objectives make people and the business better, and the plans you need to implement to achieve them.  Do you have a mental health strategy? How well integrated is mental health with your health and safety, human resources, and operational strategies? Do you know what indicators you can use, and why? You need a strategy. 

Takeaway #2: How will you resource your mental health strategy? Are you competent to do this yourself, or do you need to upskill? Do you need to hire in-house specialists, or can you do with some part-time support from someone like that? A strategy and plans are all but useless unless you resource them effectively, and that starts with you. 

Takeaway #3: This is a left-field one, and maybe my biased ears picked this up and amplified it.  Dave made a passing comment about his very limited time, and how he picks and chooses what he works on and who he helps.   We all have the same number of hours, give or take, to make a difference in the world.  If you are listening to this and feeling like it’s outside your area, its in the too hard basket, or you can’t do it justice because of competing demands: we all have the same number of hours.  It’s simply a case of choosing how we spend them, and being brave enough to say no to certain things in favour of other more important things. 

I am starting to build up a few more episodes in the mental health topic area.  The reason is that this podcast is for leaders who want to grow themselves, and drastically improve health and safety.  The vast majority of us did not get taught anything close to what we need, to make a positive impact on mental health.  So these guests and this topic, fits my mission and hopefully yours quite nicely. 

Make sure you go back and have a listen to these mental health focussed episodes:

 – Ep155 with Traci Carse, org psych with NSW Fire and Rescue,

 – Ep153 with Kathryn McEwan, dispelling some myths and understanding resilience better

 – In Ep125 I shared some thoughts on the relationship between blame and learning, remembering that blame could be a symptom of more hostile and poor psychological safety environments

 – Ep97 with Clive Lloyd walked through the central role of trust underpinning a psychologically safe climate

 – Ep083 with Kate Russel explored the uncomfortable area of conflict, and how it is both useful and manageable

 – Ep40 with Catherine Mattice discussed the role of civility in the workplace, again an underpinning foundation for mental health and psychological safety

 – Ep39 with Carlo Caponecchia, is a fantastic 101 intro to psychosocial risk at work

Thanks so much for listening.  Until next time, what’s the one thing you’ll do to take positive, effective or rewarding action, to grow yourself, and drastically improve health and safety along the way? Seeya!

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