2019: The year to tackle workplace stress

Just a few days into the new year and the effects of the ‘back-to-work blues’ may already be kicking in for some people who are finding their stress levels rising. That’s why the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand is calling for New Zealand to make 2
Found in: News / News
Date: 8 January 2019
2019: The year to tackle workplace stress

7 Jan, 2019


The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the skies are blue, but instead of lazing in the hammock or going for a swim, you’re back at work (or maybe you didn’t get a break in the first place).

Many New Zealanders are already feeling the effects of the ‘back-to-work blues’ and, just a few days into the year, are finding stress levels are rising.

That’s why the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) is calling for New Zealand to make 2019 the year we take workplace stress seriously, and work together to address it. To support this, the MHF has a new, free resource: Minimising and managing workplace stress.

A Mental Health Foundation survey found that high workloads, poor work/life balance and stressful work are the top three causes of poor mental health at work.

“Improving mental health in the workplace is critically important,” MHF chief executive Shaun Robinson says. “How we feel at work impacts not just our ability to work well, but our relationships with our colleagues, whānau, friends and communities. When our mental health is impacted by stress at work, the effects ripple out into our home and whānau lives and prevent us from flourishing.”

The resource is designed to help workplaces tackle stress head-on, and includes information about how work impacts stress, how stress affects individuals and how we can work to minimise and manage stress.

“Not all stress is bad,” Mr Robinson says, “it’s a normal and healthy response that motivates us to overcome challenges, focuses our energy and helps to improve performance. Good stress doesn’t last for long and can feel exciting. Most importantly, good stress feels manageable.”

However, too many New Zealanders are experiencing high levels of distress, or bad stress.

“Bad stress causes anxiety and usually decreases our ability to perform well in our jobs. It feels horrible, and we feel that we can’t cope with it or overcome it.”

While a combination of personal and professional circumstances usually play a role in causing stress, workplaces are critical to helping to minimise and manage stress.

“Our resource is designed to encourage workplaces and their people to think of stress as a challenge we can resolve together,” Mr Robinson says. “It’s not just a matter of individuals taking responsibility to manage stress (although that is important) – workplaces also need to step up and take proactive steps to support their people and keep them safe from the harmful effects of stress.” 

Minimising and managing workplace stress is part of the Mental Health Foundation’s suite of Working Well resources which provide organisations with tools to create cultures that enhance and protect people’s mental health.

Good mental health leads to better engagement, reduced absenteeism and higher productivity, while also improving wellbeing, morale and job satisfaction. 

Working Well resources include:

Working Well: a comprehensive guide to wellbeing in the workplace

Creating positive environments for mental wellbeing: provides practical information and tips to enhance and maintain wellbeing at individual, team, and organisational levels, with a focus on creating organisational/systems change towards a psychologically healthy organisation and culture

Enhancing mental wellbeing – Five Ways to Wellbeing at work: supports you to introduce mental health and wellbeing into your workplace and focus on promoting positive mental health, using five simple and proven actions

Minimising and managing workplace stress: provides information about what workplace stress is and how to minimise and manage it.


For further information or comment, please contact:

SOPHIA GRAHAM | COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING MANAGERMental Health Foundation of New ZealandMobile: 021 740 454