Leader's resource kit
As a business leader, supervisor or manager, you play an essential role in creating a mentally healthy workplace.
- Leaders create change, influence policies and practices, and inspire others to speak up.
- Small actions can have a big impact on the mental health of those around you, such as promoting healthy behaviours, talking openly about mental health, offering the right support and creating a positive and inclusive workplace culture.
- When employees feel valued and supported by their leadership team, they are more productive, which benefits your business bottom line.
Tips for leaders to create a mentally healthy workplace
Manage workplace factors
Common factors can impact mental health at work, such as high demands, bullying, poor change management, or job insecurity.
Learn how to identify these factors by talking to your employees, assessing data such as staff absenteeism and taking action to manage or prevent them:
- find out how mentally healthy your workplace is with our free workplace Workplace Pulse Check
- learn how you can create a mentally healthy workplace.
Make mental health a priority
Having clear mental health and wellbeing policies, strategies or processes can help you meet your work health and safety (WHS) obligations and create a work environment where your team feel supported and valued.
Heads Up has a free tool to help you create a mental health action plan.
Mental health training
Mental health training can help you identify the signs of mental ill-health, give you the confidence to start a conversation, and know-how to support your employees.
We offer free mental health training for leaders and up to 4 hours of free coaching for your business with a mental health expert.
There is also training available for you and your team to learn how to manage your mental health:
Talk about mental health
Speaking openly about mental health in the workplace is an effective way to reduce stigma and helps others feel comfortable to speak up.
It can be as simple as starting a conversation with an employee if you notice that something is not quite right.
Sharing your own lived experience with mental ill-health can make others feel more confident to reach out for support.
Everyone has a role to play in reducing mental health stigma at work. The National Communications Charter provides guidance to leaders on how to talk about mental health at work. It’s based on eight key principles that aim to reduce stigma and promote early help-seeking. The Charter also contains an action plan template with practical examples of activities you can implement in your workplace.
Show your commitment
Show your team that mental health is a priority for your organisation by sharing your mental health goals and strategies and consulting with them throughout the process for feedback.
This will help your employees feel engaged and demonstrate that their health and wellbeing is important.
One way you can show your commitment is by signing the National Communications Charter. This can demonstrate to your workers and others that your business has made a formal commitment to communicating in safe and inclusive ways about mental health and suicide prevention.
Connect to support
It’s important your employees know how to access mental health support if they need it.
If you think an employee may need mental health support, you should act early and reach out. You may have a workplace Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or if not, there are many mental health support services available that you can share.
If you feel overwhelmed, you can also access these services and talk to a mental health expert.
If an employee takes time off due to mental ill-health, find out how you can support them to recover at work.
Create a positive and inclusive culture
Creating a positive work culture starts with ensuring everyone is treated with respect.
Make sure you have a clearly communicated anti-bullying policy.
Celebrate diversity and the different skills that each team member brings.
As a leader, you can create opportunities for your team to connect and get to know each other.
Social connection is an important part of good mental health. icare has a Social Connections Toolkit you can use.
Lead by example
By modelling healthy behaviours and habits at work, you can influence your team to do the same.
Take care of your own mental health by staying active, taking regular breaks, setting realistic work expectations, finishing work on time and switching off when you leave the workplace.
Get more tips to manage your mental health.
- Hear from other NSW business leaders about how they are promoting positive change in their industries by creating mentally healthy workplaces.
- Heads Up has more tips for leaders.
- John Brogden speaks about his lived experience with mental health and the initiatives he implemented in his former role as CEO, Landcom.
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