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Mental health

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Mental health and wellbeing are essential considerations in creating and maintaining safe and healthy workplaces. Under work health and safety laws, employers have duties and obligations to provide physically and psychologically safe workplaces.

Everyone has a role to play in creating a mentally healthy workplace, including:

  • reasonably complying with health and safety instructions
  • taking reasonable care of your own mental health
  • taking reasonable care that your actions don’t adversely affect the health and safety of other people.

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 also defines clear duties for roles within workplaces.

As part of supporting mentally healthy workplaces, Comcare is working in partnership with scheme employers and stakeholders to drive and collaborate in activity across four key priorities:

  • Reducing stigma and encouraging early help-seeking
  • Enhancing manager confidence and capability
  • Improving the management of workplace factors
  • Exploring better-practice recovery and return to work.


  • Identify and manage workplace risk factors.
  • Ensure appropriate policies are in place.
  • Consult with workers to create and promote a mentally healthy workplace culture.
  • Provide effective training around managing workplace and individual stress levels.

Potential harm

Mentally unhealthy workplaces can result in:

  • mental stress
  • poor morale
  • higher rates of absenteeism and staff turnover
  • increased workplace conflict.

See Psychosocial hazards and Your mental health responsibilities at work for more information.

Prevention and managing risks

Mental stress

Workers can experience mental stress for a number of reasons, such as when workplace demands are greater than the resources available to the worker to manage those demands.


  • Lack of role clarity.
  • Poor organisational change management.
  • Breakdowns in individual and team relationships.


  • Balance job demands with available resources.
  • Provide a supportive environment that includes job control and offers praise and recognition.
  • Ensure awareness of and access to fair and just processes.
Page last reviewed: 05 May 2021

Comcare (Office Safety tool)
GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 |

Date printed 02 Mar 2024