Mental Health and Wellbeing

Overview

Mental health and wellbeing is more than just being free of mental illness, but also includes having Outside meetingmental wellness and happiness, and flourishing.  Mental health and wellbeing can increase general health, wellbeing and resilience.  Individuals diagnosed with mental illness can still experience positive mental health and wellbeing.

To find out why mental health and wellbeing is important in your workplace click here.

Incorporating Mental Health and Wellbeing into your Action and Evaluation plan

Your efforts to promote and support mental health and wellbeing in the workplace should consider a multi-level approach to ensure it is effective and sustainable.  A multi-level approach involves considering what is available at each of the following levels:

  • Organisational (e.g. policies and procedures)
  • Environmental (e.g. infrastructure and facilities)
  • Individual (e.g. opportunities, information and training)

See the following sections for examples of how to address mental health and wellbeing at each of these levels.

Organisational Change

Organisational change ensures the workplace’s policies, practices and culture support positive mental wellbeing.  Examples of what you can do in your workplace include:

Develop a mental health and wellbeing policy or include mental health and wellbeing in a standard workplace health and wellbeing policy, things to consider include:

Develop an EAP (employee assistance programme) or promote existing EAP

Promote supportive environments in the workplace, such as:

  • Peer or management mentoring or support systems
  • Communication systems and employee involvement in decision making and changes in the workplace
  • Provide staff recognition and encouragement
  • Working with employees to develop supportive work arrangements such as shift rosters to avoid excessive tiredness, ensuring workloads are clear and realistic, offering flexible working hours
  • Include whānau and the wider community in workplace mental wellbeing and other wellness events and activities
  • Incorporate core concepts that are memorable and doable such as the Five Ways to Wellbeing and stress management
  • Promote violence free families and workplaces

Encourage managers to role model behaviour that supports mental health and wellbeing

Begin or end meetings with a karakia (prayer) or short reflection (e.g. an inspiring quote)

Environmental Change

Creating a healthy working environment can encourage mental health and wellbeing. Examples of what you can do in your workplace include:

Review the workplace’s physical environment, such as:

  • Reduce excessive noise
  • Ensure adequate lighting
  • Ensure comfortable temperature
  • Consider incorporating colour, plants and other aesthetic features
  • Provide outside space with seating, shade and greenery
  • Provide quiet breakout rooms for personal time, focused work or phone calls
  • Provide spaces and opportunities for social interaction
  • Ensure that identified hazards are minimised or eliminated

Provide working arrangements or reasonable adjustments to support employee mental wellbeing, such as:

  • Flexible working arrangements (flexible work time, working from home etc)
  • Modified work tasks and workload management
  • Opportunities for staff to communicate issues relating to work load or tasks

Involve employees in discussing what changes could be made to the workplace environment to improve their mental wellbeing                                          

Individual Change

Individual change focuses on opportunities for knowledge and skill development to support employee mental health and wellbeing.  Examples of what you can do in your workplace include:

Provide opportunities for knowledge and skill development, such as:

  • Joining national campaigns and rally employees to fundraise and contribute
  • Provide information sessions or resources on mental wellbeing and mental illness to increase understanding and counter stigma
  • Organise an in-house mindfulness workshop or programme, or offer lunchtime meditation sessions
  • Promote ideas for employees to improve their mental wellbeing in the workplace and at home
  • Encourage employees to find out more about mental illness and depression - how to protect themselves as well as support others
  • Provide displays around the workplace with practical tips like the Five Ways to Wellbeing and actions for happiness

Provide opportunities for employee socialisation and interactions to support each other, such as:

  • Work social events such as a movie or dinner night for the workplace
  • Workplace walking group to explore the local area in the company of others
  • Team competitions (e.g. cooking comps, team sports etc), shared lunches, book or movie exchange, employee interest groups (e.g. coffee groups, book groups, walking groups), provide work garden or indoor plants that can be looked after by teams
  • Include employee profiles, stories or photos on workplace intranet or newsletters
  • Host a random act of kindness week – each person pulls the name of another employee out of a hat to be kind to for the rest of the week
  • Encourage employees get away from the work environment during breaks by going for a mindful walk
Promote or participate in awareness days, such as Mental Health Awareness Week.
Sign up to e-newsletters and promote to employees. Examples of local e-newsletters with mental health and wellbeing information include: Mental Health Foundation and Like Minds, Like Mine

Community Links and Partnerships

To access a variety of useful services and resources relating to Mental Health and Wellbeing see our Community Links page.

Page updated 07 Sep 2018