Around one in five Australian employees is likely to be living with a mental health condition, which can affect their productivity at work and personal wellbeing. For a small business with a team of 10, that means two people may need additional support in the workplace.

As a small business owner, you may feel you don’t have the resources or expertise to create a mentally healthy working environment or support an employee with a mental health condition. However, the costs of inaction – absenteeism, reduced productivity, high turnover and compensation claims – hit small businesses especially hard.  

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 positive working environment

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

For more information check out the creating an action plan page on this website to identify priority areas of the business to focus on and engaging employees in the process. Business in Mind, an online resource developed specifically for small businesses, is another useful resource featuring great ideas, case studies and advice from other small business owners.


 

Know the

facts

Increase awareness of mental health conditions

Make information about mental health conditions available in the workplace (e.g. place resources in lunch areas or on notice boards.)

Resources available:

Information resources

Websites and online resources

 


Increase awareness of people’s responsibilities relating to mental health 

Provide staff with information about looking after their own mental health and their legal responsibilities relating to mental health.

Resources available:

Information resources

Training

Let's

talk

about mental health

Reduce stigma 

Speak openly about mental health conditions at work and encourage others to do the same.

Resources available:

Websites and online resources

Build confidence to have a conversation with someone you're concerned about

Check how to have a conversation with someone you're concerned about. Encourage staff to look out for each other.

Resources available:

Websites and online resources

Training

Encourage staff with mental health conditions to seek treatment and support early

Tailor information about nearby support services and info lines to your needs

Resources available:

Information resources

Websites and online resources

Support staff with mental health conditions to stay/return to work

 

 

Support staff with mental health conditions to stay/return to work 

Where necessary and in collaboration with your people, make changes to their role and/or working environment to enable them to fulfil their work duties. This might include giving them time off to see a health professional, adjusting working hours, avoiding unnecessary shift changes and reallocating tasks.

Resources available:

Information resources

Templates and plans

Websites and online resources

 

 

Monitor and

manage

work loads

Increase input in how people do their work

Your people have direct insight and experience of achieving the tasks at hand – they can help. Listen to their ideas and feedback on how tasks are completed.

Monitor and manage workloads 

Encourage your people to speak up at an early stage and seek guidance.

Resources available:

Information resources 

 

 

Prevent bullying and discrimination

Encourage open communication and dignity and respect between employees to share any concerning behaviour.

Resources available:

Information resources

Websites and online resources

Provide regular performance feedback

Recognise whenever a task is done well and give constructive feedback on areas for improvement.

Resources available:

Information resources

Websites and online resources