Mentally healthy workplaces
Look out for your workmates, we've got the tools to talk about mental health
What you need to know
Mental health, just like physical health, is an important part of work health and safety (WHS).
Nearly 1 in 6 workers experience mental ill health at any given time, so chances are some of your workers are experiencing mental ill health.
There are many factors that can contribute to poor workplace mental health. Different industries, types of work and work locations present different risks. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many changes to work, created new risks and raised the potential of others, such as workplace stress, bullying and violence for frontline and essential workers. This can include threats and abuse from clients and members of the public as well as from other workers. Employers have a legal responsibility to manage these risks.
How can you manage the risk?
An example of the steps a business can take to address the risk of workplace stress and violence include:
- identifying situations that may increase workplace stress or cause violence such as enforcement of new COVID-19 requirements like physical distancing, logging attendance in cafes or restaurants and increased waiting times
- preventing the risk by taking action such as ensuring clear signage for customers to manage their expectations, create clear pathways and well-marked physical distance guides
- providing training and support to staff around managing stressful or violent situations, what to do if they escalate and how to report them
- seeking staff input on the measures being put into place and keep checking in to ensure they are working
- responding to incidents by providing support in the moment such as by asking aggressors to leave the premises, and immediately afterwards such as by connecting workers to professional supports. Then follow your workplace’s incident and management investigation procedures.
When risks are managed, everyone benefits. Employers enjoy a more engaged and productive workforce, helping you attract and keep great workers. Workers also take less time off and your business saves money. For every dollar spent to support mental health at work, you can achieve returns of up to four dollars through improved productivity and savings from workers compensation claims.
Mentally healthy workplaces also provide workers with many benefits such as confidence, a feeling of belonging, financial security, a sense of purpose, achievement and social connection. If you're experiencing mental ill-health, a mentally healthy workplace will make it easier to get the support you need to get better, lessen your symptoms, and continue to enjoy the benefits of work.
What you can do
We’ve got the tools to help you talk about and manage mental health in your workplace.
- Sign up for free online mental health training for managers to learn how to talk to your team about mental health
- Watch videos to learn how to build a psychologically healthy and safe workplace
- Download our work-related stress tip sheets
- Minimise the impact of customer aggression on employees with icare’s Respect and Resilience resources
- Not sure how to keep your workers safe? We can help, request an advisory visit.
For more information and resources go to MentalHealthatWork.nsw.gov.au
- Workplace stress Hazards A-Z – Mental Health
- Free online mental health training for managers
- Traumatic Stress Kit
- COVID-19 recovery and mental health at work
- Heads Up: a website with resources to help make mentally healthy workplaces
Safe Work Australia guidance material
Get help now
If you or someone you know need crisis support now, the services below can help.
If your life is in danger, call emergency services on 000.
If you need support, call one of the following numbers:
- Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline (for under 25’s) – 1800 55 1800
- MensLine Australia – 1300 78 99 78
- Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
- beyondblue – 1300 22 4636
- Veterans and Veterans' Families Counselling Service – 1800 011 046
You can also:
- talk to someone you trust
- contact your GP, a counsellor, psychologist
- visit a hospital emergency department.
Building a psychologically healthy and safe workplace – Part 1 Prevention
Building a psychologically healthy and safe workplace – Part 2 Early intervention
Icare Respect and resilience webinar