5 simple tips for employers supporting Mental Health conditions in the workplace *UPDATED*

Updated: Jan 25

Meet Castle DES participant Liz. With the support of Castle and her employer, Powerdown Australia she is thriving in the workplace and gaining confidence in her everyday life.

It is estimated that up to 45% of Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Supporting employees mental health need not be as burdensome, or expensive, as some think, and the outcome can be a more positive, productive environment for all employees.

Employers can use these simple tips to support their employees that experience mental health conditions, creating an inclusive environment where all employees can contribute to the best of their ability, and benefit the business in the process.

1. Have a open door policy

Create a welcoming environment where all employees feel comfortable to discuss their concerns with management. It can be common for individuals to hide their mental illness, so creating a culture of community, inclusion and acceptance can help all staff become open and honest about their workplace experience.

2. Be flexible

Consider providing flexible work practices, hours, and workloads where practical. Modify tasks, physical environments and role descriptions if necessary. Employees with mental health conditions may need to attend appointments or have to change schedule at short notice.

3. Educate yourself

Learn about mental illnesses, and the individual's condition, and be aware of behaviours or triggers that indicate they are experiencing symptoms. Familiarise yourself with coping mechanisms or treatments used, and form a back up plan for emergencies. Be conscious of workloads and be sure not to assign more work than you usually would during times of stress.

4. Regular clear communication

Eliminate uncertainty by setting clear, achievable tasks and deadlines. Monitor progress regularly to ensure they don’t feel overwhelmed. With the employee, form a job plan that best suits their abilities, and review periodically.

5. Positive feedback

Employee reviews, whilst necessary, can provide a level of stress and anxiety for all staff. It is especially important to focus on things employees are doing well, whilst providing constructive feedback and ways they can improve. Positive feedback can

boost confidence and recovery, and ensure productivity.

Learn more about disabilities in the workplace

Castle's Disability Awareness Guide can be used as a resource in your business to increase your awareness and understanding of the spectrum of disabilities, how they can affect your employees, and how you can support them in the workplace.

visit castle.org.au/disability-awareness-guide

Supporting Disability in the Workplace

When employing a person with a disability, it is important to understand how their individual impairment impacts their capacity in the workplace. Making adjustments to the work environment for staff with disabilities enables them to perform efficiently and safely, giving them the same opportunities within the business as any other employee.

The workplace adjusments required will differ significantly depending on the individual and their capacity. Some may not need any changes, some may need minor changes to the requirements of the job, while others may need specific equipment or structural changes to the workplace. It is important to communicate with your employee and understand their specific needs so that you can accommodate for them in the workplace.

Why support staff with disabilities?

Many assume employing a person with a disability will have a negative affect on productivity however, the Australian Public Service Commission reports workers with a disability have;

» Higher job retention, better attendance and fewer sick days

» Fewer workplace health and safety (WHS) incidents

» Little difference in productivity levels compared to those without a disability

Workplace Adjustments

When you employ through Castle, we conduct a FREE workplace assessment to ensure your business can accommodate for the individual. Through the Government’s Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) we facilitate the purchase and installation of any necessary equipment, assistive technology and modifications to your workplace.

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