Blueprint For Better Mental Health And Suicide Prevention

Providing return to work and ongoing support

BLUEPRINT FOR BETTER MENTAL HEALTH IN THE BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY.

WHAT CAN I DO TO PROVIDE RETURN TO WORK OPPORTUNITIES?

POLICY

The mental health and wellbeing of workers is key to organisational success and sustainability. A policy that establishes, promotes and maintains the mental health and wellbeing of all staff through work practices encouraging staff to take responsibility for their own mental health and wellbeing is vital.

 

RETURN-TO-WORK SUPPORT

Developing a suitable duties plan that includes tasks different to a worker’s usual duties allows workers to return to the workplace as soon as possible. It is also important that those who work closely with the worker are informed so they understand the change in duties and can provide the worker with support.

 

OUTREACH TO INJURED WORKERS WHILE OFF WORK

Support and understanding after a workrelated injury or illness is important and can often set the foundations for a worker’s recovery. Simple actions can go a long way to helping a worker feel comfortable about coming back to work, for example staying in touch with them while they are away from work, calling them to find out how they are doing, inviting them to meetings or functions, and sending newsletters and announcements so they remain informed.

PEER SUPPORT NETWORKS

Encouraging work colleagues to keep in contact with the worker (via visits, text messages and calls) will help the worker feel like they are wanted back in the workforce.

 

ABILITY FOCUS

Workers experiencing mental health issues will most often recover best in a supportive work environment. Analysing the worker’s current ability will help determine what a worker is capable of doing so that their work can be designed around their ability (rather than focusing on what they are currently unable to do). This will likely lead to faster at-work recovery and the worker returning to their normal duties sooner.

Return To Work Diagram

HELPING WORKERS GET BACK TO WORK

A work-related injury or illness can have a big impact on a worker’s life. Research has shown that returning to work is important for health and wellbeing.
Employers have an important part to play in assisting with return to work. Many people have misconceptions about mental health issues, including the belief that mental health issues cannot be treated, that mental health issues are caused by personal weaknesses, or that people with mental issues are incapable of making decisions for themselves or running their own lives. These stigmatising attitudes can result in discrimination in the workplace, resulting in unfair denial of employment opportunities and restricted access to services, health insurance or housing.
While it is important for workers to have income protection against the financial consequences of ill health, many more people with mental health concerns would be able to participate in the workforce if effective treatment and support were available and appropriate accommodations were made at the workplace.

IMPLEMENTING THE BLUEPRINT

This fact sheet has been developed in consultation with industry partners implementing the Blueprint for Better Mental Health. MATES in Construction have an Industry Engagement Coordinator who can meet with you to work through activities or actions that your company or business can do to implement the Blueprint either on site or throughout your organisation.

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