How To Seek Mental Health Support At Work

With 3.8 million Australians booking a mental health assessment post-COVID, it’s becoming increasingly evident that mental health plays a cruial role in our overall well-being.

The pandemic has underscored the importance of mental health, not just in our personal lives but also in our professional environments. As we adapt to new ways of working, whether remotely, in-office, or a hybrid model, the need for robust mental health support systems within workplaces has never been more pressing.

According to a report by The Black Dog Institute, the proportion of Disability Support Pension benefits being received for mental health conditions has increased by 57% since 2001. As a result, organisations like our Featured Employer Ventia are expanding their wellness programs to include comprehensive mental health resources like the Healthy Minds Program. These resources can be a game-changer in maintaining mental well-being and achieving a healthy work-life balance.

As an employee or job seeker, it’s important to recognise the need for mental health support and understand the resources available to yourself and others. Here’s how.

Recognising the Need for Support

Identifying Symptoms of Mental Health Issues Understanding when to seek support begins with recognising the signs of mental health issues, either in yourself or in others. Common symptoms include persistent feelings of sadness or anxiety, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and extreme fatigue. Physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches can also be indicators of stress or anxiety. It’s essential to distinguish between normal work-related stress and more severe mental health concerns that require professional help.

You can find out more about the symptoms and behavioural changes to watch out for here.

Understanding Available Resources

Company-Sponsored Programs Many employers offer mental health resources as part of their employee benefits. These can include Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), which provide confidential counseling services, and access to mental health professionals. It’s essential to familiarise yourself with the specific programs your employer offers, such as flexible work options, and how to access them.

Health Insurance Benefits Your health insurance plan may cover mental health services, including therapy and medication. Review your insurance policy or contact your provider to understand what mental health services are covered. Knowing how to navigate your health insurance can make it easier to find and afford the care you need.

External Resources In addition to workplace and insurance resources, there are numerous external options available. Community resources, such as local mental health clinics and support groups, can provide additional support.

Approaching Your Employer

Preparing for the Conversation Before discussing your mental health needs with your employer, it’s important to prepare. Reflect on what you need to say, gather any necessary documentation, and consider what accommodations might help you perform your job effectively. Being clear about your needs will help facilitate a productive conversation.

Having the Conversation When you’re ready, approach your manager or HR representative to discuss your mental health. Be honest and direct about your concerns and what support you require. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help, and your employer is there to assist you.

Confidentiality and Your Rights Understanding your privacy rights is crucial when discussing mental health with your employer. By law, your conversations will remain confidential, and your employer is legally required to provide reasonable accommodations under the Australian Work Health & Safety laws.

Creating a Personal Mental Health Plan

Setting Boundaries Establishing clear work-life boundaries is essential for protecting your mental health. This can include setting limits on working hours, taking regular breaks, and ensuring you have time for rest and relaxation outside of work.

Self-Care Practices Incorporating daily self-care practices into your routine can help manage stress and improve overall well-being. This can include activities such as exercise, meditation, journaling, or simply taking time to unwind and engage in hobbies you enjoy.

Goal Setting Setting realistic and achievable mental health goals can help you stay on track and measure your progress. These goals might include attending therapy sessions regularly, practicing mindfulness exercises, or maintaining a healthy work-life balance.


Mental health is a vital aspect of overall well-being, and seeking support in the workplace is essential. Recognising when you or others may need help, understanding the resources available, and taking proactive steps to address your mental health needs can lead to a healthier, more productive life not only at work, but in your personal life too.


If you’re concerned about a friend or loved one, ask them how you can help. The first step for a person with symptoms of a mental health disorder is to see a doctor or other healthcare professional,

  • Head to Health — for advice and to get connected to local mental health services, you call          1800 595 212
  • Beyond Blue — call 1300 22 4636
  • ReachOut (mental health support for young people online) — online help
  • SANE Australia — call 1800 187 263