Step 3: Develop a plan

To develop your plan, it's helpful to identify your priorities and develop a realistic action plan. Like all steps in the process of creating a mentally healthy workplace, this should be done in collaboration with staff and other key groups.

Identify your priorities

The following steps can help you identify your priorities in creating a mentally healthy workplace:

  1. Rank the issues by importance to improving mental health and wellbeing. 
  2. Rank them by the level of organisational motivation to change them.
  3. Consult with your working group, champions and / or steering committee to understand the level of need and perceived importance of the issues.
  4. Prioritise the issues.
  5. Choose the top five and then turn them into goal statements. A goal needs to be S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely).
  6. Identify what resources and / or expertise are needed to assist you.



Develop a realistic plan

Ensuring your plan is realistic and able to be implemented increases the likelihood of it having a positive impact. In developing your plan there are three areas you should focus on: 

  • Protecting the mental health of staff by addressing workplace risk and protective factors (e.g. reducing job stress with supportive management practices)
  • Promoting wellbeing by developing the positive aspects of work and worker strengths (e.g. matching jobs with worker skills, promoting positive working relationships)
  • Supporting staff with mental health conditions, regardless of their cause (e.g. upskilling managers to initiate conversations, providing job adjustments to enable stay at and return to work).

These three make up an 'integrated approach'. Evidence shows that taking an integrated approach to mental health and wellbeing in the workplace leads to the greatest benefits.1



Protection, intervention, and prevention venn diagram
Image adapted from LaMontagne et al, ‘Workplace mental health: developing an integrated approach’, BMC Psychiatry 2014, 14:131.

There are seven key goals that sit within these three areas.

As seen in the diagrams some of these goals cover more than one area.

After identifying your priority areas, determine which of the seven key goals will best support these.  Then, with your organisational leaders and staff, decide what actions will assist your organisations achieve the goals.  Success is most likely if you can integrate new actions into existing day to day systems, structures and practices in your workplace.

If you don’t have the resources to undertake multiple actions, you can start by choosing the actions that will have the greatest positive impact.



Seven key goals

  • 1. Improve understanding

  • 2. Address risks and protective factors

  • 3. Foster an anti-bullying culture

  • 4. Promote positive mental health and wellbeing

  • 5. Combat stigma

  • 6. Support employees with mental health conditions, regardless of the cause

  • 7. Prevent suicide