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Why managing mental health is important in your workplace

Did you know that about one in five Australians will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime? Common conditions like depression and anxiety may impact on work performance, so it's a good idea to think about how you manage mental health issues in your business.

As a business and an employer, managing mental health within your business will help you:

  • reduce staff absenteeism and working days lost each year
  • increase productivity in your workplace
  • create a mentally safe and healthy work place and
  • abide by work health and safety laws, which require employers to take reasonable steps to make their workplaces mentally safe and healthy.

You also have legal requirements to look after your employees' mental health, including:

  • providing a physically and mentally safe workplace
  • preventing discrimination against employees with a disability (including mental health conditions)
  • protecting your employee's personal information - don't tell anyone about your employee's mental health conditions unless they agree to it and mental health status is not disclosed to anyone without their consent and
  • ensuring your workplace does not take any unfair action against someone because of their mental health condition.

How to promote mental health initiatives in your business

As an employer, you can help promote mental health initiatives in your business by:

  • encouraging help seeking behaviour with your staff
  • reducing the stigma associated with mental illness in your workplace and
  • fostering connectivity throughout your community.

Seek to achieve these goals by encouraging people to take personal ownership of their own mental health and wellbeing.

Here's some steps your business can take to look after the mental health of your employees:

  1. Increase awareness of mental health conditions and reduce the stigma in your workplace
  2. Support employees with mental health conditions in the workplace and prevent discrimination against them
  3. Identify and minimise workplace risks to your employees' mental health and 
  4. Encourage your employees to look after their own mental health.

© Commonwealth of Australia 2016. 

This content was first published on www.business.gov.au

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