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Promoting mental health

As a manager, you have a real opportunity to introduce valuable mental health programs and resources in your workplace, which can have a positive impact on your workforce and your organisation’s bottom-line.

A mentally healthy workplace creates a more engaged, robust and productive workforce – find out how promoting mental health can benefit your workplace.

Encourage investment, promotion and participation in workplace health programs to make yours a mentally healthy work environment. Here’s how.

Involve everyone

All workers can participate in activities that promote mental health.

How do you reach each person at the right time, in a way that best meets their needs?

Every workplace, team and person is unique, so finding ways to appropriately tailor and individualise programs helps improve mental health across your workplace and has the most far-reaching social and financial impact possible.

Improve your organisation’s bottom line

A well-designed workplace mental and physical health promotion program can return an investment for small, medium and large workplaces1.

Businesses can achieve a return of up to $4 for every $1 they invest in workplace health promotion1.

This really adds up. Let’s do the maths.

Example: A business with 200 workers would expect costs of over $270,000 in mental health-related absenteeism and presenteeism each year, and face, on average, a workers’ compensation claim every five years1. By spending $9,600 on workplace health promotion (in this example, this involved physical activity), the company could save just under $40,000 of these costs every year.

A holistic approach

Looking for ways to make your workplace mentally healthy?

Take an integrated approach that looks at the big picture and how everything you do fits together to support mental health in your workplace. An approach that2:

See how this small business promotes and supports mental health in their workplace.

Video courtesy of the Victorian Workplace Mental Wellbeing Collaboration (SuperFriend, VicHealth, WorkSafe Victoria), duration: 1:25

Where to start taking action

This all sounds great, right? But deciding where to start can be difficult. It can help to begin with small improvements and build from there.

Consider starting with some simple activities, with a small investment. Over time, develop a comprehensive mental health and wellbeing program with a bigger investment. And watch the benefits for your business grow.

You’ll find that some activities are easy, for example:

  • Circulate information such as fact sheets, e-newsletters, intranet or websites, online resources and posters that promote positive mental health.
  • Organise health events and social functions for workers and their families to raise awareness of mental health and to build social networks and support. For example, you can build an event out of R U OK? Day, register as a team for fun runs or step challenges or use positive informal social events to stay connected.
  • Talk about mental health with your team regularly and consider using toolbox talks, Let’s talk fact sheets, webinars or podcasts like those from Safe Work Australia, Heads Up or the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health; as a conversation starter.

Other activities could include:

  • introducing mental health training to raise awareness
  • building knowledge and skills to stay mentally fit with training, tools and resources that are supported by evidence e.g. with eHealth apps, mindfulness and physical activity programs
  • conducting a staff satisfaction survey to gather feedback on areas of concern and ideas about how to create a workplace that supports mental health.

This website contains content and links to help you promote mental health at work. Here are some more resources to get you started:

  1. UTS & The University of Sydney, Mentally healthy workplaces: a return-on-investment study, 2017
  2. ACT Government Healthier Work, Guide to Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace, 2012