Possible Actions for a Health and Wellbeing Plan

The table below summarises potential actions that could be included in a health and wellbeing program. 
 
The physical and mental health activities are listed separately to make it easier for councils to consider activities which directly support mental health in the workplace. In practice, many physical health and mental health activities overlap and reinforce each other. 
 
Some of the mental health initiatives identified in the table may form part of council’s other learning or leadership programs rather than a specific health and wellbeing program.
 
Some councils fund all or some of the activities or subsidise activities to reduce the costs to staff. Sometimes staff members with the appropriate qualifications or level of expertise volunteer to run activities. It is worth aiming to provide a range of activities so there is something for everyone as well as providing activities at all council workplaces.
 
Keep in mind that it is still important to consider what is relevant for your council based on a needs assessment. Please refer to Healthy Workplace Kit: Your Guide to Implementing Health and Wellbeing Programs at Work (PDF 4.1KB); it explains some ways for conducting a workplace needs assessment as does the PDF called Workplace Prevention of Mental Health Problems: Guidelines for Organisations (PDF. 1.3KB).
 
 
Mental Health Activities Physical Health Activities
Providing mental health training for staff such as the Standard Mental Health First Aid course which explains how to provide initial support to adults who are developing a mental illness or experiencing a mental health crisis. Relaxation activities during lunch breaks or meal breaks including yoga, meditation and relaxation techniques.
Make mental health information available to staff via noticeboards, email and/or intranet. Health checks and preventative actions such as health risk assessments, skin checks, smoking cessation, diabetes checks and flu vaccinations offered to staff.
Encourage staff groups to actively support mental health initiatives such as R U OK Day, Go Home On Time Day and World Mental Health Day. Sport and fitness activities either lead by staff or arranged through local sporting clubs and council’s leisure centres.
Actively promote council’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and its benefits and provide information about telephone support services such as LifeLine. Lunch break or meal break information sessions on healthy eating, nutrition, drugs and alcohol.
Arrange for someone to share their experience of a mental health condition and recovery such as a beyondblue ambassador or using one of the beyondblue on-line resources.
Council sporting teams supported by the organisation to facilitate participation in competitions with other organisations.
 
Provide training and/or self-learning resources to managers to assist them to know how to talk openly and in an informed way about mental health and mental illness.
Teaching office exercises that provide standing and moving breaks.
 
Arrange for line managers to present to their staff on what the council does to eliminate bullying, harassment or discrimination. Visiting health professionals such as chiropractors, massage therapists, exercise physiologists and alternative health service providers to offer consultations to staff.
Talk openly about mental health in the workplace at staff meetings and toolbox talks.
Implement employee challenges around physical activity such as 10,000 paces a day and provide or lend out pedometers or activity trackers
 
Provide information and resources to managers/supervisors to enable them to be able to intervene if they are concerned about a staff member’s mental health. Promote walking or standing meetings and use of stairs to discourage too much inactive sitting.
Promote council’s policies and procedures which allow staff to make complaints about another’s behaviour or raise concerns about a matter of fairness in a safe and confidential manner.
Map out local healthier food outlets and encourage walking to these to buy food.
Provide training and skill development opportunities in the areas of conflict management, developing resilience and team cohesion, emotional intelligence, stress management, change management and self-awareness. Encourage active family-friendly events for staff for after work or on weekends.
Managers/supervisors present information to staff on the ways they can look after their own mental health at work and support others. Make undertaking physical activity easy by having changerooms, showers and lockers readily available at workplaces.
Promote council’s policies and procedures for flexibly supporting staff who need work adjustments or are returning to work after an absence due to a mental health condition. Use council’s intranet, email, notice boards and newsletter to provide information about wellbeing activities and topics.
Promote the taking of lunch and meal breaks combined with activities such as chess or other thinking games to ensure a break from thinking about work.
Engaging a guest motivational speaker on exercise and fitness.

 

For further ideas about mental and physical activities that could be included in a health and wellbeing program, review the document Healthy Workplace Activities at a Glance (PDF. 563KB) or explore the website Heads Up.