There are common workplace factors we know can contribute to mental ill-health or illness. We also know some factors have a greater impact in particular industries, workplaces, job roles and for small business.
But there are also things we bring with us to work, which can impact our mental health. These may be challenging life events or our biopsychosocial factors - like our genetics, personality, early-life events, how we think and behave, our mental health history or lifestyle and coping mechanisms1. Being aware of these non-workplace factors can help workplaces plan or respond more effectively when workers need support.
Things outside of work
How someone does their job and interacts with colleagues isn’t just influenced by what’s happening at work. So it’s worth considering the external aspects of someone’s life that can affect their mental health. By doing this you can better support your workers when they face challenges like the following:
- the death of a loved one
- caring for a loved one with a serious illness – find information and support for carers
- domestic violence – find resources or services to assist those experiencing domestic violence
- substance addiction – find drug and alcohol support resources or services
- gambling addiction – support and services for problem gambling
- physical illness
- financial stress
- managing multiple responsibilities
- a relationship breakup
- a serious health diagnosis
- chronic pain.
Even if experiencing challenges, workers can feel personally, professionally and financially obligated to work, making it harder to keep a healthy work-life balance.
Our health changes
We all have times where we are more or less mentally and physically healthy. For you and your business to thrive it’s important to have ways of working that support everyone to be their best every day.
What the workplace can do
There is a lot that workplaces can to do to support someone facing challenges, to help them better manage or recover more quickly, including asking if everything is ok, talking to them about what reasonable adjustments may help them continue to work and recommending support services.
- Black Dog Institute UNSW, Developing a mentally healthy workplace: A review of the literature, report prepared for the National Mental Health Commission, 2014