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How to create a Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Employers are legally obligated to provide a psychologically safe environment, free of harm, for their employees.

In line with the Australian work health and safety (WHS) legislation, employers must take steps to protect workers against risks to their physical and mental health.

Beyond adhering to these obligations, organisations that actively promote positive mental health see vast improvements in both employee wellbeing and business outcomes including increased employee productivity, retention and engagement.

Creating a mentally healthy workplace is the responsibility of all staff. Creating a Mental Health & Wellbeing Strategy ensures shared understanding of those responsibilities and alignment of effort across the entire organisation – no matter the size.

The below steps are a great starting point to developing a workplace mental health strategy, along with SuperFriend’s Building Thriving Workplace’s guidelines and actions.

Developing your strategy

1. Leadership commitment

  • Build a business case
  • Identify champions and establish governance
  • Commit financial, human and other resources.

2. Identify needs

  • Identify existing policies, programs, supports and practices
  • Review and analyse existing data and research
  • Consult with staff and other stakeholders to identify issues and seek feedback on the current approach.

3. Develop a plan

  • Establish desired outcomes and set goals
  • Identify need for collaborations or external expertise
  • Develop a realistic, achievable action plan, with goals such as: improving understanding; address risks; foster an anti-bullying culture; combat stigma; promote positive mental health and wellbeing and support employees with a mental illness
  • Implement actions.

4. Monitor, review and improve

  • Monitor implementation and uptake of initiatives
  • Seek feedback from staff on implementation and effectiveness
  • Collect data to compare with your baseline and measure progress against goals
  • Review strategy and programs against baseline goals
  • Amend and adjust strategy and actions where required.
Reference: Beyond Blue’s Developing a workplace mental health strategy ‘how-to guide’ describes these 4 step to guide organisations in building their own strategy.

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