Business owners and organisational leaders

Business owners and organisational leaders play a critical role in driving policies and practices that promote mental health in the workplace. They are able to positively influence workplace culture, management practices and the experience of employees.

They can do this by:

  • demonstrating a visible, active commitment to mental health in the workplace
  • speaking out about mental health in the workplace (including any personal experiences)
  • making mental health an objective of the organisation or business, incorporating it into organisational values and KPIs
  • integrating good health and safety management into all business decisions
  • rewarding managers for maintaining a mentally healthy workplace
  • developing their leadership and people management skills
  • allocating necessary resources for change, and establishing performance measures
  • promoting a zero-tolerance approach to stigma and discrimination against people with mental health conditions
  • providing flexible working conditions that promote employee mental health
  • identifying and supporting internal ‘champions’ with the skills and influence to lead workplace mental health initiatives.

Tips for getting started: Have you...

  • Communicated with your employees and got their feedback? Here's an email plan to get you started.
  • Identified any risks to mental health in your workplace? This booklet outlines some of the factors you should be looking for.

Managers and supervisors

Managers and supervisors play an important role in identifying and eliminating health and safety risks, and supporting employees with mental health conditions.

They need to:

  • have a basic understanding of mental health conditions
  • be able to communicate effectively to employees about mental health
  • be able to approach a direct report who they may be concerned about
  • be able to make reasonable adjustments to help employees experiencing mental health conditions continue to do their job.

The Australian Public Service Commission has developed Working together: Promoting mental health and wellbeing at work, which provides practical information and guidance on managing employees with mental health conditions.


Download the 'Managing someone with a mental health condition' factsheet


As well as benefitting from a positive workplace culture, employees have a responsibility to look after the mental health of themselves and their colleagues.

Employees need to:

  • take reasonable care of their own mental health and safety and that of their colleagues
  • educate themselves about mental health
  • cooperate with workplace policies and procedures
  • support initiatives aimed at improving mental health in the workplace.


Human resources professionals

Where an organisation has dedicated human resource (HR) professionals, these staff can have a significant influence on workplace mental health. HR professionals have a role in:

  • promoting workplace health and safety
  • implementing and reviewing policies and practices to do with workplace mental health
  • training managers and employees in mental health awareness and support strategies.


Other key groups

Health professionals treat individuals with mental health conditions and support them stay at work, or return to work after an absence. It is important that they work collaboratively with employers and employees with a mental health condition.

Industry groups have a role in communicating the importance of mental health in the workplace and providing relevant information and resources to their members.

Occupational health and safety practitioners develop, implement and evaluate risk management programs. They train employees in work health and safety (WH&S) procedures, monitor and audit the workplace and investigate any threats to safe and healthy working conditions.

Unions support workplace mental health by improving working conditions, by promoting health and safety within workplaces and by making relevant information, services and resources available to members.

Work Health and Safety (WH&S) regulators help enforce WH&S legislation, manage workers’ compensation schemes, provide workplace injury insurance for employers and help injured workers get back into the workforce.


Everyone has a role to play

in creating a mentally healthy workplace