Mental Health in the Workplace

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Poor mental health in the workplace is currently costing Australian businesses $11 billion a year as revealed by researchers at the University of Tasmania. With approximately 45% of Australians experiencing some sort of mental health issue in their lifetime, it is likely that at some point, every worker will be affected by mental illness, either directly or indirectly.

The high prevalence of poor mental health in the workplace is an issue employers need to consider with depression and anxiety disorders the most common impact on employees. As part of Mental Health Week, employers need to consider what strategies they can implement to ensure their employees have a healthy work life balance.

All employees and managers have a duty of care to their staff and are obliged to take appropriate steps to minimise health and safety risks in the workplace. In terms of mental illness, as an employer or manager you are obliged to:  

  • Identify possible workplace practices, actions or incidents where there is a high level of staff turnover, job stress, work pressure, sick leave, poor morale, bullying or conflict that may cause, or contribute to mental illness
  • Take actions to eliminate or minimise these risks

Some simple strategies that can be adapted for the workplace are: 

  • Ensuring a good fit between the job and the person doing the job
  • Having a culture of fairness and equity
  • Good communication between managers and staff
  • Support healthy diet, lifestyle and taking lunch breaks
  • Managing excessive stress in the workplace by having clear policies and actions
  • Identify and responding to problems early where asking for help is seen as a positive
  • A stay at home work plan for those experiencing mental health issues

Good mental health is an area of priority for us all, it doesn’t matter the size of the business as mental illness does not discriminate.

For more information on creating Mentally Healthy Workplaces please visit:

Queensland Mental Health Commission

Queensland Alliance for Mental Health

Queensland Workplace Health and Safety