Your Mental Health at Work

Mental health is a growing problem in workplaces across Australia.

A report released in 2020 by the Productivity Commission estimated that 2.8 million working Australians have mental illnesses and take time off work for their health. Additionally, 6% of all serious workers’ compensation claims are for work-related mental health conditions.

The SDA is committed to not only making sure you’re working in a safe and healthy environment but making sure your workplace is supporting you if you’re experiencing a mental illness or condition.

Mental health hazards vary from workplace to workplace but some of the common ones to look out for include:

  • High and low job demands (i.e. being expected to do too much or too little)
  • Poor relationships with co-workers and managers 
  • Unclear roles and responsibilities
  • Challenging work hours
  • Lack of recognition
  • Having little say over how your work is done and objectives 
  • Remote or isolated work (e.g. working alone overnight) 
  • Poor environmental conditions

Talking to your employer about your mental health can be an uncomfortable and potentially tricky conversation.

You’re not legally required to tell your employer unless your condition has the potential to endanger your safety or your coworkers – for example, your ability to operate machinery or make decisions.

Telling your employer can have its benefits though if you feel comfortable telling them.

It can help your employer and your coworkers better support you and make changes to your workload to ensure you can be happy and productive at work.

If you do need to make a formal disability discrimination complaint later on, telling your employer earlier can also help to protect your rights.

If you’re weighing up whether or not to disclose a mental health condition to your employer, the SDA is here to provide you with assistance and confidential advice on this.

Don’t hesitate to call us on 8139 1000 or email 

It’s important to remember that a mentally healthy and safe work environment is a right, not an option.

As long as you are able to do the inherent requirements of your job, your employer cannot discriminate against you if you’re experiencing a mental health condition including conditions like anxiety or depression.

This means that your employer cannot dismiss you, demote you or treat you unfavourably because of your condition.

If you are experiencing a mental health condition and it’s affecting your work, your employer must make reasonable adjustments to ensure you can continue to do your job productively and safely.

If you’re concerned about a hazard to your mental health at work, you shouldn’t be afraid to speak to your SDA Delegate, HSR or SDA Organiser about how you should raise your issues.

Alternatively, you can call the SDA on 8139 1000 or email for assistance.

You can also raise your concerns with your supervisor or manager, if you feel comfortable in doing so.

Under the Work Health and Safety Act, your employer has a duty to provide you with a healthy and safe work environment – both physically and psychologically.

They must create a positive, supportive and inclusive workplace and have systems that manage risks to your mental health.

Some of the ways your employer can do this is by: 

  • Implementing workplace policies about workplace mental health 
  • Practicing respectful workplace interactions
  • Monitor workloads and adjust if necessary
  • Encouraging open communication and consultation.
  • Building awareness of psychological health and safety
  • Proactively supporting workers who may be at risk of psychological injury by providing an EAP or access to other services

If work is having a negative impact on your mental health, the SDA is here to support you. 

If you require urgent mental health support, please contact these services for 24/7 crisis support:

Lifeline: 13 11 14 |

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 |