The pressures of daily life, financial stress, job insecurity and personal challenges create situations that flow into the workplace.
The impact of failing to manage mental ill-health in the workplace can include:
- the loss of good employees
- workers compensation claims
- increased sick leave
- high turnover of staff, and
- bullying and harassment claims.
Trying to work out what causes mental ill-health in employees is difficult. It is an ‘invisible’ challenge for employers and one that requires a proactive approach for success.
Approaching with suspicion and looking to disprove an individual’s mental ill-health can have negative results for all involved.
Whether the individual is suffering mental ill-health from conditions like bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia, depression, anxiety or stress, they are all manageable conditions that employees (and other members of the Australian public) live with every day.
If a claim arises, having the right support and policies in place is a better strategy than trying to prove the case against the employee.
Our top five tips for developing a mental health plan are:
- Let go of unhelpful incidents of suspicion against employees claiming mental ill-health. In the absence of reasonable evidence to the contrary, give employees the benefit of the doubt.
- Provide managers and supervisors with training about mental ill-health.
- Treat employees with mental ill-health as you would any injured employee, by allowing them to take time off to recover from an injury and to seek a safe return to work.
- Ensure that employees feel supported and that their mental ill-health circumstances will be kept confidential (where possible).
- Provide access to external support (like Employee Assistance Programs and other counselling).
- cultural improvements
- increased productivity
- fewer workers compensation claims
- reduced sick leave, and
- minimised legal liability.
Not only will you contribute to strengthening the Australian economy, you will be on the front foot when regulations start to roll in.
This piece by Joe Murphy was first published on ‘Human Resource Director Australia‘ 19 March 2018.