Information for managers
Managing mental health in the workplace: your role as a manager
Managing mental health in the workplace boils down to supportive and effective management practices.
- How can I manage a staff member with a mental health issue? (PDF, 432.8 KB)
- Effective communication: having the conversation
- Managing performance concerns
- Getting help
- Legal requirements for managing mental health issues in the workplace
- Duty of care (PDF, 657.7 KB)
- Commitment over compliance may be an effective strategy for managing staff that are experiencing mental health issues. This approach is intended as an alternative to where we ask the employee to comply with plans and solutions: for example, accommodation plans, return to work strategies or conflict resolution approaches. Instead the employee is asked to actively engage in developing a plan, strategy or approach that they are willing and able to commit to over the long term.
- BeyondBlue Workplace online is a series of free online resources to raise awareness of depression and anxiety in the workplace, and provide practical strategies to support individuals and promote mental health in the workplace.
- WorkSafe and Beyond Blue: Supporting the return to work of employees with depression (PDF, 406.9 KB)
- The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission has developed a guideline for employers, outlining obligations regarding discrimination against people with mental illness in employment. It provides practical guidance on how to be proactive in preventing discrimination as well as general information about mental illness. It also seeks to dispel some of the myths and stereotypes about how this disability can affect people in employment.
- The Australian Human Rights Commission has released Workers with Mental Illness: a Practical Guide for Managers that will assist managers and supervisors to find the best way to maximise productivity while reducing the incidence of illness in their workplaces. The Guide provides information on how to appropriately support workers with mental illness. It also provides information about how to develop and promote a safe and healthy work environment for all workers. The guide is intended to help managers and supervisors understand their obligations under Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and disability discrimination legislation and to understand mental illness and how to talk about mental illness.
- Demonstrating that you take mental health seriously
- Showing understanding when a staff member discloses a mental health issue or that they are experiencing difficulties
- Clearly define worker responsibilities and tasks
- Show that you value your staff members and recognise their performance and achievements
- Address performance and behaviour concerns promptly, sensitively and honestly with staff
- Discuss issues and grievances with your staff members, and take appropriate action
- Promote collaborative decision making
- Ensure workload aligns with worker capabilities
- Promote work life balance
- Promote professional development and ensure that your staff members feel resourced to do their work
- Encourage an environment where people feel valued and heard
- Ensure fairness and respect, creating an environment that demonstrates that bullying and harassment are not tolerated
- Provide opportunities for social interaction amongst staff
- Familiarise the basics of Mental Health, Deakin's EAP; health and wellbeing programs, policies and processes to assist staff experiencing mental health issues i.e. reasonable adjustments; return to work
Displaying these behaviours should be ongoing in your role as Manager.
- Frequent late arrivals
- Excess use of sick leave or personal time
- Patterns in days of absence or poor / declining job performance – e .g. on Mondays or Fridays
- Decreased productivity and difficulty concentrating on work tasks
- Excessive worry about completing tasks or workload
- Difficulty in prioritising work, disorganisation; untidy workspace
- Constantly changing work patterns that do not relate to work demands Increased accidents, injuries or safety problems
- Unusual restlessness or irritability
- Problems in work relationships
- Increased use of supports – EAP, people services
- Decreased interest or involvement in work
- A decline in dependability
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