Mental health

Mental (psychological) health, just like physical health, is an important part of work health and safety (WHS).

Recognising and managing risks in the workplace that may lead to physical or psychological injury is an essential part of creating a safe, healthy and productive workplace.

Employers and PCBUs have a legal responsibility to manage hazards and risks in the workplace. The how to manage work health and safety risks code of practice provides guidance on risk management for physical and psychological hazards as the WHS Act defines health as both physical and psychological. For specific guidance on risk management for psychological hazards refer to the SafeWork Australia guide for work-related psychological health, a systematic guide to meeting your duties.

The below two-part video assist businesses to build a psychologically healthy and safe workplace using the SafeWork Australia guide.

Part one: Prevention

Part two: Early intervention

In addition to WHS, other legal responsibilities for workplace mental health include avoiding discrimination and respecting privacy

There are many benefits to having a mentally healthy workplace and these extend to workers, the business and the wider community. When a business is proactive and prevention focused they can see a return on investment for every dollar spent to improve mental health at work.

Mentally healthy workplaces encourage prevention of mental ill-health or illness by assessing the workplace and work practices for risk factors in consultation with their workers.  Mentally healthy workplaces will also consider mitigating factors for all workers (including for example injured workers or workers who have disclosed mental illness to the workplace) to be able to connect workers with early support and assist their recovery at work.  Some workplace risk factors include (but are not limited to):

Mentally healthy workplaces can also provide workers with many benefits such as confidence, a feeling of belonging, financial security, a sense of purpose, achievement and social connections and networks. These benefits can flow back into the business in many ways including increased productivity, reduced injuries and positive workplace culture.

A mentally healthy workplace has the following principles and behaviours:

  • mental health is everyone’s responsibility and is led by business leaders
  • mental health is considered in every way you do business
  • everyone contributes to a culture where people feel safe and supported to talk about mental health
  • mental health support is tailored for individuals and teams
  • everyone can see you're finding better ways to support worker mental health.

To find out how to create a mentally healthy workplace please visit the mental health @ work website or use the resources below.

Useful resources

NSW Mentally healthy workplaces 2018-2022

The NSW Mentally healthy workplaces strategy 2018-2022 sets out a long-term vision to create mentally healthy workplaces across NSW.

Download the mentally healthy workplaces strategy.

Crisis support

The following organisations provide crisis support and assistance:

  • Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511
  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • beyondblue 1300 22 4636
  • Headspace 1800 650 890
  • Salvo Care Line 1300 363 622
  • Mensline 1300 789 978
  • Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
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