SafeWork NSW’s Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy has been relaunched today, aiming to improve workplace mental health in response to significant shifts in ways of working due to COVID-19.
Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson said the re-designed strategy is focused on helping every type of business in NSW become mentally healthy.
“SafeWork has already done a fantastic job in supporting businesses implement mental health plans for their workplaces and have trained up more than 14,000 employees, but there’s a lot more work to be done,” Mr Anderson said.
In the last two years SafeWork NSW received more than 5,000 calls for assistance and information in relation to bullying and other psychosocial risks as well as how to get started in creating a mentally health workplace.
“The re-designed strategy is about helping employers move from a model of only prioritising mental health at work following an incident, to offering targeted and proactive support to their employees throughout the year,” Mr Anderson said.
One new initiative in the strategy is “direct practical coaching” for small and medium businesses, providing business leaders with one-on-one training from experts on workplace mental health.
“Through the pilot, every business, at a time convenient to them, can receive tailored guidance on how to address risks related to mental health at work, as well as identify actions and plans to mitigate the issues,” Mr Anderson said.
Minister for Mental Health, Bronnie Taylor said knowing how to prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of staff is increasingly important in the wake of COVID-19, and can also make a big difference to morale and productivity.
“Most of us spend about one-third or more of our adult lives at work. It’s a huge part of what we do and can have a significant impact on our mental health in a positive or negative way,” Mrs Taylor said.
“This new and improved strategy is designed to help us ensure we are meeting the needs for every single workplace in NSW to provide an environment that promotes
and encourages good mental health.
“Good mental health begins in the community and in the places and times we gather from day-to-day. From high-risk sectors to small and medium businesses, this means equipping each and every one to confidently deliver tailored, practical support to meet the unique needs of their staff from the ground up.”
This strategy comes on top of the NSW Government’s record investment of $2.4 billion on mental health in 2020-21.