Make mental health a business priority with the Heads Up Action Plan

Oct 27, 2014

Creating a mentally healthy workplace should be a priority for all business leaders. For many, however, knowing where to start is often the most difficult step. So at Heads Up, we’ve created an action plan just for you.

Visit Heads Up to start your own Action Plan. The action plan will provide business leaders with a strategy to begin, or continue, to develop a mentally health workplace.

Businesses are encouraged to take action across three areas: raising awareness and reducing stigma; supporting employees with mental health conditions; and promoting a positive working environment. The Heads Up Action Plan helps organisations prepare a three-step approach towards achieving your goals and implementing change, starting with identifying priority areas of action, then implementing those actions, and finally by reviewing and monitoring any outcomes.

The step-by-step approach is similar to usual business planning practices, and includes some essential elements to ensure its success:

  • Senior organizational leaders and business owners are committed to positively influencing the working environment, management practices and the experience of employees.
  • In larger organisations, managers are supported with training and resources to implement the plan.
  • Employees have input at every step, from planning through to implementation and review.
  • Policies and procedures provide clear, concise guidance on how the business or organization is to function, ensuring the needs of managers and employees are considered.
  • Sufficient time and resources are allocated.
  • A sustainable approach is taken that involves monitoring, reviewing and modifying the plan.
  • Benchmarks for mental health are established as part of annual strategic planning and budgeting.

With one in five Australian workers likely to be experiencing a mental health condition in any given year, taking action to improve mental health in the workplace is critically important for business.

A 2014 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report on mental health in the workplace estimated that the costs incurred when employers do not take action to manage mental health conditions in their business costs Australian business approximately $10.9 billion per year. But the report also showed that, on average, businesses will experience a return of $2.30 for every $1 invested in initiatives that foster better mental health in the workplace – and even higher in some industries.

Having an understanding of the current work environment and how to approach the issue of mental health will help with the development of an Action Plan. This starting point will help employers review their progress, and may include:

  • Feedback from employees, which could include staff surveys and meetings, committees to look at health and safety, and also individual conversations.
  • A review of existing policies – both in terms of content and effectiveness.
  • Absenteeism – the frequency, duration and ratio of planned versus unplanned leave.
  • Benefits uptake – the degree to which staff make use of available employee benefits.
  • A review of employee assistance programs.
  • Disability statistics.
  • Rates of accidents, incidents or injuries.
  • Workers’ compensation claims.


Create better workplace health: register with Heads Up

To discover how you can implement change and build a happier, healthier and more productive workplace, register for Heads Up, a joint initiative of Beyond Blue and the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance (MHWA).

Heads Up on LinkedIn

If you would like more information and resources about how to create a more mentally healthy workplace, please visit our LinkedIn company page, which is regularly updated with stories and links related to the issue.

If you would like to join the discussion about a mentally healthy workplace, please visit our LinkedIn group page and become part of the conversation.



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