26 November 2015

Strategies to develop a solid mental health policy in the workplace

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In Australia, an estimated of 45 per cent of people will experience some form of mental health related illness once in their lifetime, and it costs Australian businesses $11 billion a year, with untreated depression resulting in over 6 million working days lost each year alone.

In order for businesses to maximise their productivity and drive greater motivation, it is crucial for employers to promote a mentally healthy environment. Companies that are successful in creating a mentally healthy culture can significantly reduce stigma, improve staff performance, retain staff and most importantly, make a happier environment for staff to work in.

A PwC study shows that for every $1 that is invested in creating a mentally healthy workplace will result in a $2.30 average return.

As an employer, you can start with these 3 simple and low cost steps to create a mentally healthy workplace.

Raise awareness of mental health conditions and reduce stigma

To raise awareness of mental health conditions, it is important to know about the symptoms of mental illnesses. You can provide training to all managers and staff to increase their knowledge. This could be in the form of an information book, online or face-to-face training. A good way to reduce stigma is to listen to someone who has mental illness or has cared for someone who had the medical condition. You can arrange for someone to share their personal story on what it is like to be living with mental illness. 

Support employees who are dealing with a mental health condition

As an employer, you can develop and implement plans that can accommodate employees who are living with mental illness. These plans may include how to encourage employees to return to work after suffering from a mental illness or stay at work plans that are tailored to the employee’s needs.

Create a supportive workplace culture

Show that you care about your employees and increase the awareness that your business is committed to creating mentally healthy workplaces. To do this, you will need to engage with all your employees and let them know your plans on what you intend to do as well as receiving their input. This plan should include the roles and responsibilities of all staff relating to mental illness, covering areas such as work health and safety, discrimination, privacy and how to take care of their mental health.

…. good mental health is not simply the absence of a mental disorder. It is a state of wellbeing whereby an individual can realise their own potential, manage everyday stresses, work productively and contribute to their community.” – World Health Organisation

Being brought up in a typical Chinese family in Australia, Vivian takes pride as an ABC (Australia-born Chinese) where she happily embraces both the Chinese and Australian cultures. 


In high school, Vivian wanted to become a fashion designer, however she has developed a passion for running events after working backstage for multiple live shows. Prior to starting at Akolade, Vivian worked 4 years in the wine industry and she misses the wine tasting sessions and openly drinking on the job. As the Marketing Coordinator, Vivian enjoys using her creativity to design unique and fun campaigns for each event. In her spare time, Vivian loves to spend time with her two adorable cat and dog. 

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