Human Resources Division

Mental Health in the Workplace

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Depression, anxiety and substance overuse are the most common mental health disorders in Australia. One in three Australians will experience depression and/or anxiety at some point in their lifetime.

This means almost 20 per cent of all Australians will have experienced depression, anxiety or a substance use disorder in the last year. Most of these Australians will try to actively remain at work. (BeyondBlue)

With most of us spending more than 50% of our waking lives at work, the workplace can heavily influence the health of workers and our community as a whole.

A psychologically healthy workplace can be described as a high functioning, respectful and productive workplace.

Person with Menatal health sickness

What does a psychologically healthy workplace look like?

Recognising and promoting good mental health is essential to creating a safe and healthy workplace. Organisations, managers and workers all have a responsibility to create a safe work environment that is supportive of workers experiencing mental illness. A psychologically healthy workplace:

  • Promotes a culture that is inclusive and emphasises abilities not limitations
  • Aims to eliminate discrimination and stigma and adopts respectful language
  • Understands it's duty of care and OHS responsibilities
  • Has policies and procedures that consider mental health in the workplace
  • Offers programs and resources to educate and inform staff about mental health, it's impacts and strategies to address and support them
  • Promotes collaborative decision making and/or problem solving amongst all levels of staffing
  • Ensures everyone is treated with consideration and respect

Employers and managers have an obligation to manage and minimise health and safety risks in the workplace. This extends to identifying workplace practices, actions and incidents that can cause or contribute to worker's mental health. For example, excessive workloads; lack of role and task clarity; lack of flexibility; conflict.

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11th September 2013