Dealing with mental health issues can be a challenge at any time and dealing with these issues whilst at work can be even harder. You may have read that at least 20% of the population in Australia are suffering from mental health concerns or issues at any one time, so one thing is for sure – anyone with such issues is not alone.

One of the hardest things can be either recognising or acknowledging you have an issue for a start, and the next hardest thing may be asking for help. Dealing with mental health problems that we or a loved one may have can be a challenge, but there are many resources and websites out there to assist, such as,, or you can contact your GP.

As for work, you have the right to maintain your privacy and to keep on working as you can’t be dismissed for having a mental health issue.  You have the right to have time off work if necessary, as you would with any other illness, however, you also have the responsibility to talk to your employer if your mental health problems are affecting others or may put the health and safety of yourself or others at risk. If you want to talk to your employer but need assistance to do so, you might want to talk to your doctor first or ask a mental health professional to help you approach the subject.

One interim strategy you might like to try is to spend time each day connecting with your life and those around you. Taking time to smell the roses, enjoying the sun on your face or taking notice of the person next to you who may also need a smile or a “how you going?”, may be a key to making both your and their day more special.

Jo Hanlon
HR Coach/GNS HR Manager