Mental Health in the Workplace
By Justin Lillyman
As an employer, it is highly likely you will manage an employee with a mental health issue at some point in your career.
Managing people is complex and challenging in itself. Managing staff with suspected or known mental health issues is even more demanding as you need to ensure you take a sensitive and effective approach that is consistent with legislative requirements.
Regular, open communication is important to staff wellbeing, you may wish to:
- hold regular meetings with your employees;
- arrange one-on-one check-ins once a day or more or more for those who need it;
- try not to micromanage. Try to focus on and manage outcomes instead of daily tasks;
- remember to celebrate wins—employees may be working under extra pressure to deliver them;
- consider holding end of week gatherings or lunches for socialising;
- create policy to limit the hours for sending and receiving emails; and
- keep team check-ins upbeat and positive as a break from the circulation of negative information, and
If you believe an employee is struggling with mental health issues, there are number of measures you can take to support them.
- Modify employee tasks. Perhaps move them to a different project, allow them to try something new or offer them smaller tasks instead.
- Encourage your employee to talk with you about what supports are available.
- Refer them to any support programs you may run such as an Employee Assistance Program. Guide staff who are needing extra help to talk to their GP or support services like Lifeline and Beyond Blue.
If you have any queries in relation to mental health in the workplace, please contact REEFWA via email: ReefWA@cciwa.com or on (08) 9365 7510, in addition, for members, CCIWA has available a free Mental Health Toolkit.