WNA Blog

Fri 28 Oct 2022

Mental health at work– Featuring Founder of Mind Your Fashion, Jude Kingston


Health & Wellbeing

A recent study showed that one in five Australian employees reported taking time off work due to feeling mentally unwell in the past 12 months.

Knowing the extent that mental health can affect our work, how do we discuss or even begin to manage mental health in the workplace?

Yes, we have a Mental Health Act and rights, but how do we take the jargon and litigious language out of leadership discussions and ensure we’re looking after each other, human to human?

Trailblazer Jude Kingston is the founder of Mind Your Fashion, a charity with a mission to improve conditions in the fashion industry to make it a mentally safe place to work at all levels.

In Episode five of the WNA Trailblazers podcast, we hear from this incredible woman as she shares how we, as individuals and employers, can look after each other and make sure everyone has access to the resources they need in the workplace to support good mental health.

Make kindness a priority in the workplace

This all starts with being mindful of how you speak to your colleagues; being kind and considerate.

Kindness can be as simple as taking the time to have a meaningful conversation with your colleague and asking them how they are have been, and how they week is going.

Consider taking on a mentoring role to help your colleague or employee learn, grow and feel supported.

Remove yourself from the situation

If you are having an interaction, whether that be with a co-worker, customer, or even someone at a more senior level, and you find their behaviour inappropriate, it is always best to remove yourself from the situation.

You can do this by explaining that you’re not going to continue having this conversation as you’re feeling ‘X, Y Z.’ You should follow this up with a manager or HR, depending on the situation.

Know your rights

No matter your age and what industry you’re working in, you must know your rights and what you’re entitled to. Visit The Fair Work Commission, to learn about your workplace rights.

“I think a lot of people get taken advantage of. You hear about people that aren’t given breaks, that are expected to just work, you know, X number of hours straight without having a break. That’s not acceptable,” says Jude.

Don’t be afraid to speak up!

One factor that inhibits speaking up is our fear of the consequences. Will it cost me a promotion or a raise? Will I lose my job? I needed a letter of reference from my boss; I didn’t want to hurt my chances for a strong recommendation.

Behaviours or tasks that may be deemed to be not appropriate or unexpectable should never be tolerated nor swept under the carpet. Finding the courage to speak up and use your voice is so powerful.

Reach out

Most importantly, if you’re struggling with your mental health, don’t be afraid to reach out and seek help. You’re never alone; there are many support services out there and always someone to lend a helping hand.

Mind Your Fashion – a non-for-profit organisation leading positive change

Mind Your Fashion is dedicated to raising awareness of mental illness in the fashion and creative sectors and is developing an industry accreditation scheme to validate businesses that prioritise the mental health of their teams.

Founder Jude Kingston has experienced the effects of mental illness first-hand from her experiences in the industry. She knows all too well the impact this has on your life and the feelings of loneliness, isolation and loss of confidence that comes with it. Jude witnessed many of her colleagues experience the same with lasting and damaging effects.

“Mind your Fashion is the voice to bring about change within the industry and in doing so provide support for those who need it most,” says Jude.

You can support Mind Your Fashion by purchasing their divine COURAGEOUS Parfum, in collaboration with JAJI Parfumerie.

To hear more insights into mental health at work and how this modern-day trailblazer is paving the way for mental health in the fashion industry, connect with WNA Trailblazers.  LISTEN TO EPISODE 7 AND SUBSCRIBE TODAY! 

You can support future episodes of the WNA Trailblazers podcast by donating via Go Fund Me, or subscribing to our Patreon link.


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