Mental health in the workplace refers to the relationship between employee mental health and the workplace. It encompasses:
- how the workplace can impact on an employee's mental health
- how an employee's mental health can impact on the workplace
- how the workplace setting can be used to promote broader messages about mental health.
With over 11.5 million Australians (61 per cent of the population) in employment, workplaces can play a significant role in supporting the mental health of employers, employees and the community in general.
Workplaces can affect mental health, either positively or negatively. Although employment is generally associated with better mental health, some job roles and working environments can present risk factors for depression and anxiety.
Mental health problems are Australia's leading cause of non-fatal disability, with depression and anxiety accounting for over half of this burden. Unlike many physical illnesses, mental health problems affect people during their prime working years.
This can have a direct impact on workplaces through absenteeism, reduced productivity and increased costs.
A 'mentally healthy workplace' promotes and protects employee mental health and can have a positive impact on productivity, performance, staff retention and being perceived as an employer of choice.
beyondblue believes that everyone involved in an Australian workplace has a responsibility to contribute to the creation and sustainability of mentally healthy workplaces through:
- raising awareness of mental health
- ending workplace stigma and discrimination against people experiencing mental health problems
- enacting and following supportive policies and procedures
- providing and being aware of pathways to support and guiding others towards them.
Our information aims to provide the evidence, principles and actions required to improve and maintain the mental health of workplaces of all sizes.