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Guides to make workplaces "mentally safe" amid COVID-19 released

Wednesday 20, Jan 2021

The Australian Government’s National Mental Health Commission (NMHC), in collaboration with the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance (MHWA), has released guides to support the mental health and wellbeing of workers and businesses during and after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The guides have been developed to help Australians navigate mental health challenges associated with COVID-19 in their workplaces. “Making workplaces mentally safe is equal to making workplaces physically safe,” MHWA Chair Lucy Brogden AM said. “All workplaces can take simple steps to look after their people’s mental health during COVID-19.”

Recognising that each workplace, as well as managers and employees, has been impacted differently by the COVID-19 pandemic, the guides look to provide relevant information according to business size. The three resources have been developed for sole traders, small businesses and medium-to-large businesses. “You don’t have to be a mental health expert to spot signs that someone around you might need extra support,” Brogden said. The evidence-based and easy-to-use resources provide helpful tips on how to recognise the signs that someone might be struggling, and how to have a positive and helpful conversation about mental health and wellbeing. The resources also detail how to 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. The guides are designed to enable workplaces to support the mental health of workers, understand their obligations and inform employees of available mental health services. The resources include posters, images and contacts for services to help workplaces share information with employees to create a mentally healthy workplace.

“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,” Brogden said. “Business owners, leaders and managers have a role to play in protecting and supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their people. Investing in mental health can make your workplace healthier, safer and more productive.”

The guides are available here, via the NMHC website.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Sura Nualpradid