Even if you don’t know it, it is highly likely that, as a manager, you will supervise a worker with mental illness at some point in your career. It’s very likely there is someone on your team right now, who is suffering from a mental health condition.

Mental illness is more common than many people actually realise. It’s estimated that around 45% of Australians aged between 16 and 85 will experience a mental illness at some point in their life, while one in five Australian men will experience a mental illness in any given year. The numbers increase when we look at females with one in three suffering.

The key thing we must remember is that Anxiety and Depression are illnesses. Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean they are not real. Just like other illnesses affect us all differently, so do Anxiety and Depression.

Anxiety and Depression can affect anyone at any time. An employee may suffer from a mental health condition before, during or after employment and in some cases before, during, and after! An unhealthy work environment or a workplace incident can often cause considerable stress, making a mental health condition worse, or cause one to newly develop. Mental health can affect anyone at any time, as mental health conditions like anxiety don’t discriminate.

Most often workers can manage their own illness and will do so in silence, without it impacting their work. There are many reasons why some may hide their condition including but not limited to:

  • Fear of judgment
  • Lack of understanding
  • Loss of opportunities
  • Being excluded because of their condition

A minority of workers may require ongoing support from their employers, while some may require support for a short period of time. It’s important for employers for you to be aware of the signs of mental health so you can support your employees however possible because early intervention and support are key to recovery.

As an employer, a few of the signs to look out for may include:

  • Sudden change in behavior
  • Panic attacks, restlessness, or wound up and edgy
  • Avoidance of situations or not doing usually enjoyable activities
  • Not getting things done at work
  • Withdrawing from close family and friends
  • Unable to concentrate


According to research undertaken by PWC and Beyond Blue, at any given time 1 in 5 employees will suffer a mental health condition and untreated depression results in 6 million working days lost a year in Australia alone. PWC research shows that for every $1 invested in creating a mentally healthy workplace, the average return is $2.30!

Image source: Beyond Blue

So what is your organisation doing to prevent and support mental health issues in your workplace?

According to beyond blue, the number of people contacting their Support Service has been going up at the rate of around 40% a year. Having mental health professionals instantly available to provide advice and support to people in need can and does save lives.

If you think you or someone you may know may have anxiety or depression, you can use this free beyond blue checklist as a guide only.


In my experience presenting to businesses, schools, and groups across the country, I often hear so many positive stories as a result of these sessions because of the educational aspect. Education and early intervention are imperative to recovery.

So what are you going to do to make your organisation ‘mentally healthy?

For more information on getting your organisation mentally healthy, including booking in Educational Sessions or my Mental Health Workshops for Corporates, please get in touch today.