Mentally friendly workplaces are a win-win. They help employees achieve their potential, and they help businesses become productive and profitable. Find out more in this overview of the Mentally Friendly Workplace.
What is a Mentally Friendly Workplace?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”.
An employee might face a range of mental health challenges at some point, including stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness, and employers and workplaces fulfil a really important role in protecting the mental health of employees during their careers.
At a minimum, workplaces shouldn’t harm the mental health of an employee or worsen an existing condition, but many workplaces go beyond this minimum. Mentally friendly workplaces are those workplaces that have taken active steps to support the mental health of their employees.
As defined by SafeWork NSW: “a mentally friendly workplace promotes, protects and supports health. They’re safe places to work and are more productive, which in turn is good for workers and good for business.”
What does a Mentally Friendly Workplace look like?
Mentally friendly workplaces tend to have several characteristics:
- Work is designed to minimise the risk of illness and injury
- Managers are trained in how to prevent and manage stigma around worker’s health
- Prevention efforts for workplace illness and injury are implemented
- Access is provided to self-service health tools
- Support services (such as Employee Assistance Programs) are promoted
- KPIs for workplace health and safety are measured and monitored
Mentally friendly workplaces promote and facilitate early help-seeking, where workers are encouraged to seek support and to check in with someone when they are experiencing mental distress. These workplaces have overcome many of the risk factors that can cause harm to employees. Read more about the risk factors here.
What are the benefits of becoming a Mentally Friendly Workplace?
Mentally friendly workplaces enjoy many benefits, including healthier, more productive employees. Mentally friendly businesses tend to be more productive, more profitable and have better employee retention rates. Find out more about the business benefits of becoming a mentally friendly workplace at our longer article here.
How can I make my Workplace more Mentally Friendly?
Mentally friendly workplaces might use a variety of strategies. In general, they place an importance on work life balance and educate their staff and managers. They talk about mental health to remove any stigma, they support their staff’s efforts to seek help and they measure relevant dat to plan and improve. Read more about strategies to develop a mentally friendly workplace here.
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