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Mental Health in the Workplace

By Tasha Broomhall

We hear about mental health and mental ill health a lot these days. But we don’t really think about it until we, or someone close to us, experiences mental health problems.

Almost half of us will experience mental illness in our lifetime, and this can have a wide reaching human and economic toll. Given that we spend about 30% of our time at work, it’s no wonder that mental health problems can have a huge impact in the workplace.

Mental Health In The Workplace

In many organisations:

  • Poor mental health & wellbeing affects staff morale, decreases productivity and increases absenteeism and presenteeism.
  • The impacts of anxiety and depression are high in the workplace,
  • Staff experience high stress levels.

To be able to start to reduce the costs – both financial and to individuals, we really need to improve the mental health literacy in our workplaces.

Managers and supervisors must know their roles and responsibilities in responding to mental health issues in the workplace. They need to know what is legally required to ensure that they are not discriminating against staff because of their mental illness.

They need strategies to approach and address staff with mental health issues, how to have the conversations with staff and how to develop reasonable workplace accommodation for mental illness.

Does Your Organisation Have A Mental Health And Wellbeing Plan?

If not, then it’s time to get one!

1. Give your organisation a mental health check-up

Analyse how often mental health issues are impacting in your workplace, how much time are supervisors and managers spending supporting staff with mental health issues, how much time is lost to reduced productivity and absenteeism?

2. Assess your organisation’s mental health literacy

How much do they know about mental health and wellbeing? What do they know about their legal obligations in responding to mental illness in the workplace and how comfortable are they with these obligations and employee entitlements? See our Workplace Psychosocial Safety & Wellbeing Policy and Support Pack.

3. Develop a plan that includes a clear organisational policy and procedure

Do this for minimising psychological risk in the workplace, for responding to mental illness and for enhancing mental health and wellbeing. More about developing a Mental Health Strategy Map for Your Organisation.

4. Implement the plan

Implement the plan and include broader awareness raising activities to increase mental health literacy as well as targeted training on recognising and responding to mental health issues in the workplace.

5. Moniter this plan

Monitor the plan at regular intervals, update and modify as required.

If we can help with any of this, please contact us.

Tap into our mental health expertise

See how our team can make building and sustaining a proactive psychological health and safety culture easy, enjoyable and cost-effective.

Contact Us

Image credit: Arlington Research (Unsplash)

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