Poor mental health is likely to affect one in five Australian employees and they bring all aspects of themselves – physical and mental health – to work every day.

Untreated depression and anxiety cost employers around $10.9 billion every year, largely through reduced productivity, absenteeism and WorkCover claims. The case for creating mentally healthy workplaces is clear, and everyone has a role to play.

The good news is that there are a number of simple, effective and low cost actions you can take to create a mentally healthy workplace and support your people.

You can take action in three key areas:

  1. Raise awareness of mental health conditions and reduce stigma
  2. Support someone with a mental health condition
  3. Create a supportive workplace culture

We've provided some helpful tips below to get you started. You can also download the Tips for medium and large businesses PDF.

Many of these actions are simply good business practice backed up by an increased understanding of workplace mental health, and you may be doing some of them already. You can also create a tailored, online action plan to meet your specific priorities.


 

Know the

facts

 

Increase awareness of mental health conditions.

Provide mental health awareness resources and training (online or face to face) to staff and managers.

Resources available:

Information resources

Face-to-face training

Online training


Reduce stigma. 

Arrange for someone to share their personal experience of a mental health condition and their recovery. This could be a beyondblue ambassador, or you may have an employee or manager willing to speak openly and share their story. 

Resources available:

Websites and online resources

 

Supporting employees with mental health conditions to stay/return to work.

Develop and implement return to work or stay at work plans, tailored for employees’ needs.

Resources available:

Templates and plans

Websites and online resources

Increase awareness of people’s roles and responsibilities.

 

Provide information to all employees on their specific roles and responsibilities relating to mental health. This might cover areas such as work health and safety, discrimination, privacy and taking care of their own mental health, and should be tailored for different levels and specific job functions. Induction or refresher training is an ideal time to ensure everyone knows what is expected of them.

Resources available:

Information resources

Face-to-face and online training

Show that you

care

about your employees

Increase awareness of your business commitment to creating mentally healthy workplaces.

Engage your employees – let them know what you’re doing, share your action plan and seek their input. Get your communications, marketing or HR teams to promote your progress, both internally and externally. Focus on the specific benefits for your employees, business and the community in your campaign. 

Resources available:

Templates and plans

 Websites and online resources

Face-to-face and online training

 

Create a discrimination-free workplace where diversity is respected.

Provide gender and sexual diversity, cultural and disability awareness training for staff and managers.

Resources available:

Websites and online resources

Identify and minimise workplace mental health risks.

 

 

Monitor work load and work hours.

If employees are regularly working long hours, taking work home or working through breaks, address the issue directly and look at your resourcing levels.

Resources available:

Information resources

Provide clarity on job roles and responsibilities.

Ensure employees have an up-to-date job description which includes role purpose, reporting relationships and key duties expected of them. Have a clear process and time frames to resolve any uncertainty.

Resources available:

Information resources

Let's

talk

about mental health

Build the skills and confidence of employees to approach someone they may be concerned about.

Promote free resources to help your employees have a conversation if they’re worried about a colleague. Make these available on your intranet and display posters or other materials around the workplace.

Resources available:

Websites and online resources

  • Having a conversation, What would you do? and Business in Mind online resources

Face-to-face training

Ensure a zero-tolerance approach to bullying.

Develop formal and informal confidential complaint handling processes for employees to report inappropriate behaviour. Deal with any cases of bullying or harassment quickly.

Resources available:

Information resources

Websites and online resources