How to create a mentally health workplace

How to create a mentally health workplace

Have you ever taken a “mental health” day at work? According to Heads Up, the equivalent of 1.1 million sick days are taken each year for mental health reasons, costing Australian businesses up to $6.1B. 

 It’s no surprise that businesses are now investing more in making workplaces that support mental health, and creating a mentally healthy workplace for their employees. Whether you’re a manager or peer, here are  five tips on how you can contribute to establishing a healthier place to work.

Promote work life balance

Expecting staff to work long hours, or work from home in the evenings after a working day will actually diminish their productivity and negatively impact their mental health. As a manager, you may not expect your team to work long hours, but do you work extended hours yourself? Setting this example may be just as problematic.

Some staff may find it difficult to establish these boundaries. A manager focused on creating a mentally healthy workplace will assist them by setting clear expectations, delegating appropriate amounts of work with reasonable deadlines, and ensuring they unplug at the end of the day. Managers can also speak to staff proactively to encourage them to take their holiday leave.

See something, say something

If you’ve noticed that a colleague seems unusually quiet or low, find a suitable time to speak with them. Perhaps a quick coffee or lunch in the canteen will give them an opportunity to share any concerns or issues. Quite often all it takes is an empathetic ear and a simple open-ended questions such as “I’ve noticed you’ve been a bit quiet – how have you been?” to lessen the feeling of isolation that goes hand in hand with mental illness. Mental health training can give you the skills to have these conversations.

Reduce the stigma and focus on prioritising wellness

Make it a priority to speak about and provide resources on topics such as stress management, physical wellbeing and mental health. Some companies will offer healthy food or fitness groups and activities in the workplace to promote wellbeing. Even if these resources are not available, speaking openly about mental health may help some people feel more accepted and validated in the workplace. 


Celebrate achievements

 Acknowledging and highlighting achievements, whether individual, team or organisational, are an important way of creating a psychologically safe workplace. Staff members will feel that they are valued and their work is appreciated which leads to the added benefit of increasing motivation and productivity. 

Build mental health skills

 There are many different ways to weave mental health into the workplace through training.

For example, providing coaching and mentoring training for managers will help them create positive, high-trust relationships with their teams, which in turn creates a psychologically safer environment. Resilience, stress management or change agility training can equip staff members to better deal with their day-to-day responsibilities. Investing in Mental Health First Aid training and introducing policies and procedures to support trained staff has also become a must-have addition to many businesses.

If you would like more information on creating a mentally healthy workplace, book in for mental health first aid training, or discuss training tailored to your workplace’s needs, please contact Kirsten on



Mental health problems affect one in five Adult Australians. Many people experience a crisis situation where they need additional support. Knowing where to go for immediate support and assistance is really important. For some people, a person on the other side of a phone is what they need. For others using the internet as a way of connecting to crisis support is the best way of coping. People need crisis support at any time, day or night. These helplines and online support provide a range of options for people in need. 

NSW Mental Health Line

 1800 011 511

The Mental Health Access Line is for people to call within NSW and directly link with local NSW mental health services, and to mental health services in other regions throughout NSW. You can also ring them if you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis and may be at risk of harm to themselves or others.

Lifeline Telephone 24-Hour Crisis Support 

13 11 14 

Lifeline has trained crisis supporters available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They also offer an online Crisis Support Chat 7 days a week between 7pm – 4am AEDT. 

Mensline Australia 

1300 78 99 78 

This is a telephone counselling service available 24 hours, 7 days a week, for men with relationship or family concerns. 

Suicide Call Back Service 

1300 659 467  

Suicide Call Back Service is a nationwide service that provides 24/7 telephone, video and online professional counselling to people who are affected by suicide.


1300 22 46 36 

24-hour helpline which gives information and referral to services for anxiety and depression.



1300 726 306 

PANDA supports women, men and families across Australia affected by anxiety and depression during pregnancy and in the first year of parenthood. They also provide support relating to postnatal psychosis. The national helpline is available from 9am – 7.30pm Monday to Friday AEST. 

Alternatively, you can email support@panda. and a team member will get back to you during helpline hours. 

Carers NSW 

Ph: 1800 242 636

Carers NSW provides a Carer Line which is staffed by experienced Carer Support Officers who offer emotional support, referrals, and distribute carer specific resources and information, to carers, service providers and community members. Their Carer Support Officers understand the issues carers face and the supports carers can access in their local community. The Carer Line runs Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm.

Gambling Help Telephone & Online 

1800 858 858 

This free, confidential helpline provides counselling, information and referral for people with gambling problems and concerned family members, over the phone or as an online chat service. 

The Butterfly Foundation 

1800 33 4673 

The Butterfly Foundation is a nation-wide advocacy and support organisation for those with eating disorders and their loved ones. The website has excellent resource for parents and carers, and provides support by email or live chat.


Telephone: 1800 184 527 

(3pm-midnight local time, 7 days) 

QLife is Australia’s first nationally-oriented counselling and referral service for LGBTIQ+ people. QLife provides nation-wide, early intervention, peer supported telephone and web-based services to people of all ages, sexualities and genders. The website also hosts some useful guides.

NSW Quitline 13 7848 (13 QUIT) 

A confidential telephone information and advice service to help smokers quit and stay quit.


 1800 187 263

Helpline where you can talk to a mental health professional. The Helpline runs Monday to Friday, 10am – 10pm.

Ph: You can also use the SANE support chat which runs Monday to Friday, 10am – 10pm.


Headspace are the National youth mental health foundation dedicated to improving the mental health and wellbeing of young people. If you are a young person aged 25 years and under, and are having a difficult time, you can talk to Headspace via phone or e-headspace online.

Ph: 1800 650 890

Kids Help Line

1800 55 1800 

This is a telephone, and web-based counselling service. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for young people aged up to 25 years. 

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