Employer obligations for mental health and wellbeing

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Description

Mental health is an important factor in the success of an individual, a team, a business and the broader community. Wellness is not just a new age buzz word – it is defined as the state of being comfortable, healthy and happy. It is not just about an absence of illness or disease, or negative feelings – it is a sense of positivity, happiness and satisfaction. Essentially, its how you feel about yourself and your life.

And while every aspect of our lives influences our state of wellbeing, for many people the workplace and our careers occupy a high percentage of our waking hours therefore the effects of poor workplace culture can have a significant impact on our overall mental health and wellbeing.

As an employer, not only is there a legal obligation to the do what is reasonable to support the general health and safety of team members within the workplace, this obligation extends to situations that may affect their mental health and wellbeing. Knowing the mental health risks in your workplace means you can work towards removing them.

What you should be doing

  • Understanding mental health issues and what a ‘mentally healthy’ workplace is
  • Identifying wellbeing initiatives that you can implement
  • Supporting team members to have conversations about mental health and wellbeing
  • Assess and manage mental health risks within your workplace

What not to do

  • Sweep mental health issues under the rug
  • Treat team members with mental health issues differently to others
  • Ignore red flags in relation to workplace risks to mental health and wellbeing

Final Statement:

Workplaces that support the mental health of their employees have more successful businesses, because their employees perform better, are happier, and stay in their jobs for longer. They also have fewer days off work.