Thinking clear on mental health

Last updated: August 13, 2019

A healthy workplace is a productive workplace. Making sure everyone is taken care of on the job in regards to mental health is key, not only to ensure the team is in good shape, but also as we all have formal rights and responsibilities under discrimination, privacy, and work health and safety legislation. And with one in five Australians having a mental illness – you may already have an employee with a mental health condition you need to support. Let’s take a look at what you need to know.

Your obligations to ensure good workplace mental health might begin sooner than you think. For example, did you know it’s unlawful to discriminate against, harass or victimise people with disabilities, including during the hiring process? Further to this, workplace health and safety legislation requires workplaces to be, as far as is reasonably practicable, physically and mentally safe and healthy for all employees. Fortunately, Employment Plus are experts at ensuring your organisation is hiring legally and ethically – and even go so far as to provide you with HR advice when you place two or more candidates, so you can ensure your workplace is adhering to disability discrimination laws.

But a mentally healthy workplace isn’t all about meeting legal obligations. Hiring candidates with mental health issues can not only improve the way your business operates – it can also lead to a more productive workplace that can boost your bottom line. Research by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, conducted for Beyond Blue, showed that “every dollar you spend creating a mentally healthy workplace can, on average, [can] result in a positive return on investment of 2.3.” Staff will be happier, more engaged and produce a higher quality of work, resulting in a win/win situation for both employer and employee.

Of course, you can’t measure everything in dollars. They say when you’re running a small business – brand is paramount. Building a name as an employer that promotes positive mental health and wellbeing can make you an employer of choice – and improve your reputation in the community. Not only will you be contributing to a healthy workplace, you’ll be helping influence community attitudes towards mental health.

Mental health concerns are common and can be accommodated in your workplace. Don’t assume a candidate can’t do the job due to a mental illness – we can provide advice and support to help make sure the job is done right and that your workplace is flourishing.

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