Studying the impacts of COVID-19 on workplace mental health

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Sunday, 11 October, 2020 - 11:45
Policy & legislation
National News

Employees and employers across NSW whose mental health has been impacted by the onset of COVID-19 are being encouraged to take part in a community consultation that will help drive how the NSW Government supports people when they need help most.

In order to hear from as many people as possible, the NSW Government has also launched an innovative new online community engagement tool where people can provide feedback through a range of easy-to-use methods such as quick polls, an online survey, and a digital ideas board.

Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson said the pandemic has had a dramatic impact on many people’s lives, especially through changing workplace practices.

“Many companies have shifted to a remote working model, while others have unfortunately had to reduce staff numbers or hours worked, leaving many NSW employees facing an uncertain future,” Minister Anderson said.

“We want to hear from people across all industries and in different types of working arrangements to get a clear understanding of how these unprecedented challenges have impacted workplace mental health.”

Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the consultation will complement the existing $45 million mentally healthy workplaces strategy which is currently being reviewed.

“Knowing how to prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of staff is more important than ever,” Minister Taylor said.

“This consultation represents a fantastic opportunity for people to share their concerns about returning to the office as well as suggest any additional supports they might need.”

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the online engagement tool will set a new benchmark for how the Government engages with the public.

“By allowing people to choose how they engage with public consultations and by scrapping complicated lengthy forms and reducing the need for email submissions, we are cutting down barriers in engaging with government on critical issues and allow genuine two-way discussion,” Minister Dominello said.

Once the consultation period finishes on 6 November, feedback will be summarised, reported online via the engagement tool and shared across government to inform further policy on mental health in the workplace.