Roles and Responsibilities

Drawing on advice developed by Beyond Blue and the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research, we can describe some of the key responsibilities that apply to different levels in the organisation in relation to mental health and wellbeing. 
In thinking about what mental health and wellbeing activities may be relevant for your organisation, ask yourself the question; What actions could we take to ensure we meet these responsibilities?

Senior leadership team 

In a mentally healthy workplace, the senior leaders would:
  • Demonstrate a visible, active commitment to mental health and workplace safety
  • Speak openly about mental health in the workplace
  • Make mental health an objective in relevant corporate plans
  • Reward managers for maintaining a mentally healthy workplace
  • Allocate resources to support the development of a mentally healthy workplace
  • Ensure organisational structures and managerial accountabilities are clear
  • Create a fair workplace which manages performance effectively
  • Communicate a zero-tolerance approach to bullying, harassment and discrimination
  • Model collaborative decision-making and open communication especially at times of change
  • Encourage career and personal development
  • Ensure the council has the expertise and protocols in place to eliminate or minimise physical and psychological health and safety risks
  • Promote diversity as an organisational advantage
  • Ensure support mechanisms are in place for all employees including those with mental health conditions.

Managers and team leaders

In a mentally healthy workplace, anyone in the organisation who is responsible for supervising others would:
  • Demonstrate that they take mental health seriously, modelling actions that promote mental health and wellbeing
  • Inform themselves about mental health issues in the workplace, how to manage them and how to support someone who may have a mental health condition
  • Know their operations and be proactive in identifying and remedying potential physical and psychological injury risks
  • Show they value their staff and recognise performance and achievements
  • Practice collaborative decision making
  • Define roles, responsibilities and tasks clearly and ensure they reflect actual work duties
  • Ensure workloads are in line with staff capabilities and resources
  • Encourage the balancing of job demands with job control
  • Promote work-life balance
  • Model and promote fairness and respect.

Staff members

In a mentally healthy workplace, staff would:
  • Recognise that they have a responsibility to promote their own mental health and wellbeing and act to protect against mental health problems
  • Engage in mentally healthy practices in the workplace
  • Be proactive in identifying and minimising risks to physical and mental health in accordance with the council’s procedures
  • Be considerate and respectful in their interactions
  • Support fellow employees, where possible, to help them cope with stress and mental health issues
  • Support and participate in the council’s metal health program
  • Act if they had concerns about their own mental health.

HR staff

In a mentally healthy workplace, HR staff would:
  • Champion health and wellbeing in the workplace
  • Lead, or be a key contributor to, the review of policies, practices and programs which are designed to strengthen workplace health and wellbeing
  • Promote and enable the use of council’s performance management protocols
  • Develop specialist knowledge around mental health and wellbeing to provide authoritative advice and support to staff and managers.

Work health and safety staff

In a mentally healthy workplace, WHS staff would:
  • Champion workplace health and safety
  • Ensure staff know how to identify, evaluate and minimise physical and psychological injury risks in the workplace
  • Conduct or oversee workplace audits to identify any gaps in the council’s physical and psychological risk management expertise, processes and systems
  • Investigate or oversee an investigation into health and safety incidents or threats to safe working conditions and ensure remedial action is taken.
More information about the roles and responsibilities of employers, managers and staff as well as example actions can be found in the following documents;