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Managing Mental Health and Wellness Concerns

Managing Mental Health and Wellness Concerns

* Last Updated 14 April 2020


Supporting employees with mental health and wellbeing has been an increasing concern for employers over recent years. However, the Covid-19 crisis has had a huge impact on every single one of us – in the form of varying degrees of increased stress, anxiety and financial worries. In addition, those with mental health problems and/or addiction issues may be finding themselves struggling with these pre-existing problems given the added pressures and uncertainties of the Covid-19 environment.

Fortunately, the government has recognised the scale of this issue and has allocated additional funding to mental health support and wellbeing initiatives.


If you or one of your team feel that you’re not coping, you can call or text 1737 – free, anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – to talk with a trained counsellor.  


Visit the mental health section of the  Covid-19 website for more information https://covid19.govt.nz/individuals-and-households/health-and-wellbeing/looking-after-your-mental-wellbeing/


The Covid-19 crisis may also lead to increased financial distress and worry, addiction issues or family violence. For these issues specifically:

  • https://sorted.org.nz/ has a range of financial tools, resources and information or for personalised support contact MoneyTalks on 0800 345 123 help@moneytalks.co.nz, or text 4029
  • Alcohol Drug Helpline – 0800 787 797 or text 8681 for a free and confidential chat with a trained counsellor, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Family Violence Information Line – 0800 456 450 for information as well as services in your own region. The phoneline operates 9am – 11pm every day of the year


Finally, we recommend all employers consider implementing a Mental Health and Wellness Programme. This doesn’t need to be a costly exercise. Make a start with a policy and a set of guidelines that assist in building a workplace that supports mental health and wellbeing by:

  • Increasing employee knowledge and awareness of mental health and wellbeing issues
  • Linking managers to practical resources to support them in working through problems that arise due to a mental health issue with one of their team members
  • Providing a list of support agencies and their contact details that managers can refer to when someone presents with a mental health problem
  • Outlining the considerations and providing a plan for return-to-work after time off due to a mental health problem
  • Setting the expectation that all employees and managers will normalise the conversation and reduce stigma around mental health problems in the workplace


Positive People can help you to write your own mental health and wellness policy and guidelines, build a programme or support you in working through individual employee problems and concerns. Email us info@positivepeople.co.nz or call 09 445 1077.

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Building Resilience in the Workplace


Why it is so important in the Workplace

In today’s ever changing environment, the need to build resilience alongside diversity is paramount. A meeting or workplace today is a melting pot of different perspectives, ideas and thoughts. While we all know these differences can help to make your good business great, it also raises challenges within our teams as we ask people to work collaboratively and not only accept, but embrace each others’ differences.

Our workplaces have grown from hierarchical environments, with teams sharing common views and backgrounds, to places where we value critical thinking and innovative solutions from all members of the team. This change opens the door for less resilient team members to become disengaged or fearful of expressing their viewpoint as they know it may be different from those around them.

Putting strategies in place to build resilience helps you to harness everyone’s views and create an environment where everyone does their best – and the results speak for themselves.

Key methods to build resilience in your team are:

  • Reframe your problems
  • Make change the norm
  • Encourage well-being
  • Build self esteem

Reframe your problems

People who lack resilience are likely to feel threatened and overwhelmed by problems that come their way. Helping your team to reframe and see problems as challenges or opportunities to make things better helps everyone to come together on business issues in a positive way. The next time you have a team together to discuss a business problem, try reframing the meeting to be a team challenge and see how positive the reaction is.

Make change the norm

We all know change is hard, and for some people it is harder than others. Making small positive changes in your business on a regular basis can assist your team to be ready for larger change and helps everyone to look towards change positively.

Encourage wellbeing

It’s hard to be resilient if you are tired, unhealthy or stressed. Small issues become big issues and you often can’t move into problem solving mode. Having a wellbeing plan for your team will help you to ensure you have employees fighting fit and ready to get stuck into whatever the day brings.

Build Self Esteem

Personal confidence is clearly reflected in the way we face conflict, overcome challenges and accept feedback and different points of view. Making sure you and your leaders take the time to give genuine positive feedback and recognise your team’s contributions can go a long way towards helping them increase resilience. If they believe in themselves, one small set back can be overcome. If they don’t, it can be the last straw.

Our workplaces are changing, and business success is reliant on every single member of your team performing well. Building resilience will improve performance as well as engagement, improve your employees’ wellbeing and help your business grow.

Positive People can help you to build resilience in your workplace through learning and development programmes, culture and engagement initiatives and policies that support mental health and wellbeing. Contact us today.

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Mental Health and the Workplace

Mental Health and the Workplace

Recently there has been a lot in the news regarding mental health. The passing of Greg Boyed prompted an outpouring of tributes by his journalist colleagues. One, by Rawdon Christie, called for managers to take more responsibility for the wellbeing of their employees.

There are some important reasons to make mental health a priority in the workplace:

  1. In NZ one in five adults experience some form of common mental health issue in any year. Almost two in five adults have experienced a mental health issue over their lifetime.
  2. Employee health affects the workplace and the workplace affects the health of employees. It is important for employers to understand the difference between pressure, which keeps us all going and makes us productive, and stress, which makes unmanageable demands that damage both employees and the business. There should also be an awareness that life outside of work affects the wellbeing of workers when they are at work.
  3. Workplaces are legally required to take all practicable steps to ensure the health and safety of their employees. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, workplaces have a role to play in the prevention of harm to all people at work. This includes mental harm caused by work-related stress.
  4. A healthy work environment increases productivity and reduces employee turnover, stress, and personal grievance claims
  5. Workplaces feel the effects of poor mental health of employees through increased absenteeism and increased ‘presenteeism’ – when employees are at the workplace but not mentally engaged with work. It is estimated that on average, employees have nearly three times as many ‘presentee’ days as absentee days

Source: www.mentalhealth.org.nz

Your role as a manager

It’s crucial that managers are equipped to act or know where to turn if they have concerns about the mental health of an employee. There are a number of onsite and offsite courses from a variety of providers that teach the basics of ‘Mental Health First Aid’.

In addition to crises management, it’s also important to consider:

  • What support can and should you provide when an employee is struggling with their mental health?
  • How will you manage misconduct or disciplinary processes when there are mental health concerns?
  • How will you manage the return-to-work of an employee after time off due to a mental health issue?

Once you’re ready and prepared to support employees experiencing mental illness, then it’s time to consider how you can proactively promote mental health in the workplace. This might be as simple as organising a shared lunch, entering a team in a local sporting event, or organising a charitable donation for some of your team to deliver on behalf of your business. Check out five ways to wellbeing for employer resources, put together by the Mental Health Foundation.

Contact us to find out how we can partner with you to implement a mental health and wellbeing programme that suits the needs of your business and employees.