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A mentally healthy workforce the key to coping with COVID-19

18 Nov 2020
The National Mental Health Commission is encouraging businesses and workplaces across Australia to adopt new Mentally Healthy Workplace guides to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australian workers and businesses during, and after, COVID-19.

The Commission is a founding member of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance, a group of 15 organisations from business, union, community, government and mental health sectors who have worked together along with Ahead for Business to produce national evidence-based and easy-to-use information for employers.

“Making workplaces mentally safe is equal to making workplaces physically safe. All workplaces can take simple steps to look after their people’s mental health during COVID-19,” Lucy Brogden AM, Chair of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance said.

“That’s why the Commission, as part of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance, has collaborated to create a set of resources to help Australians navigate mental health challenges associated with COVID-19 in their workplaces.”

Recognising that each workplace, managers and employees have been impacted differently since the onset of the pandemic, the guides look to provide relevant information according to business size.

The three resources have been specifically developed for:

  • Sole traders
  • Small business, and
  • Medium to large business

Included in the resources are helpful tips on how to:

  • Recognise the signs that someone might be struggling
  • Have a positive and helpful conversation about mental health and wellbeing, and;
  • Create a culture of trust and openness in the workplace

The guides respond to the compounded impacts of the pandemic on people’s mental health and wellbeing, as well as the need to operate businesses during the economic recovery.

They enable workplaces to actively support the mental health of workers, understand their obligations, and inform employees of available mental health services.

 “You don’t have to be a mental health expert to spot signs that someone around you might need extra support,” Ms Brogden said.

“Talking about mental health and creating a culture of trust and openness in the workplace can reduce stigma and make it easier for people to reach out and seek support when they need.

“Business owners, leaders and managers have a role to play in protecting and supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their people. We know that people thrive in workplaces where they feel safe and supported. Investing in mental health can make your workplace healthier, safer and more productive.

“A simple conversation can play a powerful role in connecting someone to the care they need.”

Included in the packs are posters, images and contacts for services to assist workplaces in sharing information with employees to create a Mentally Healthy Workplace.

You can download the resources at https://www.mentalhealthcommission.gov.au/mentally-healthy-workplaces-during-covid-19