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Definitions

Absenteeism

Regularly staying away from work, eg sick leave.

At-risk workers
Includes workers or groups that may be at higher-risk of developing mental ill-health due to a higher exposure to workplace and non-workplace factors. In line with at-risk groups identified in the Work Health and Safety Roadmap for NSW 2022 these include migrant workers, young workers, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and workers engaged through labour hire organisations. May also include Aboriginal people, front line workers, fly-in-fly-out workers, people with a disability, remote and/or isolated workers, workers in occupations or workplaces where they have increased exposure to workplace mental health factors, workers showing early signs of mental ill-health and older workers.
Biopsychosocial factors

Every person has unique circumstances, demographics and biopsychosocial factors that can influence their mental health. These include genetics, personality, early-life events, how they think and behave, mental health history, lifestyle and coping mechanisms1.

Bullying

Repeated, unreasonable behaviour in the workplace directed towards a worker, or group of workers, that creates a risk to health and safety.

Excessive demands

When the overall level of job demands, conflicting demands and other perceived pressures in a worker’s day to day work are excessive2.

Factors

See 'workplace factors' below.

Low control

When workers have very limited autonomy or ability to make decisions about when and how they carry out their work2.

Mental health

A state of well-being where every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can contribute to his or her community3.

Mental ill-health

Includes mental illness OR symptoms such as changes in emotion or behaviour not of sufficient severity to be diagnosed as a mental illness, which may resolve in time or when a person’s situation changes or, if problems persist or increase in severity, may develop into a mental illness4.

Mental illness

A set of symptoms that can be diagnosed and significantly impact how a person thinks, feels, behaves and interacts with others, for example: mood disorders, such as depression; anxiety and bipolar disorder; psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia; eating disorders and personality disorders4.

Mentally healthy workplace

A mentally healthy workplace is a workplace where:

  • mental health is everyone’s responsibility
  • systems, policies and procedures are integrated, address mental health specifically and are embedded across the organisation
  • interventions are tailored to each work group
  • continuous evaluation and improvement is visible.
Micro business

A business that employs less than five workers.

People with lived experience

People who have had or are currently living with mental illness.

Presenteeism

Working at reduced capacity due to ill-health.

Reasonably practicable

Doing what is reasonably able to be done to ensure the health and safety of workers and others.

Resilience

Refers to the ability to adapt and 'bounce back' from threats or adversity. It can be developed in anyone at any stage of their career6.

Small business

A business that employs five to 19 workers.

Workplace factors

Aspects of the workplace environment that increase the likelihood of mental ill-health - also known as workplace risks or risk factors.


  1. Black Dog Institute, UNSW, Developing a mentally healthy workplace: a review of the literature, 2014
  2. Paraphrased from the University of Sydney, Summary of Key Issues for SafeWork NSW Emerging from the Review of Risks for Workplace Mental Ill-Health, 2017
  3. Everymind & icare, Can digital interventions help improve mental health and reduce mental ill-health in small businesses?, 2017
  4. Black Dog Institute website, Building resilience to workplace stress, 2018.