Kiwi businesses providing help for staff to cope mentally

Some New Zealand businesses are now providing support to their staff to help them cope mentally.

The Warehouse is one of 100 businesses who have brought in the Mental Health Foundation to help staff cope since the law changed last year, putting the responsibility on the boss to ensure mental health is considered when creating a safe workplace.

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson said employers must now ask "are workloads reasonable, and are people having to work under such pressure and such stress that it starts to damage their mental health and wellbeing?"

Campaigns are being used to help change the conversation surrounding mental health and get people talking about it.

Firefighter Des Hosie knows how tough it can be.

"Absolutely, I have my own story and I can think of a number of times over my 35 years as a firefighter that have been challenging for me."

Mr Hosie said he suffered a breakdown 10 years ago and sought help. Today he is helping his workmates.

The stigma and discrimination around mental health is still a big issue - Mental Health Foundation CEO Shaun Robinson

"The organisation realises that we're exposed to critical incidents, but also personal stress comes into our work life. And we are looking at ways to improve our support to our people to help them cope," he said.

In just a decade, the number of people with depression has jumped from 10 per cent to almost 17 per cent and there is fear the number could be higher.

Mr Robinson said there's definitely more work to do.

"The stigma and discrimination around mental health is still a big issue, we've had 20 years of working on that."

Now the Mental Health Foundation are in workplaces, it's hoped staff will be happier and healthier as they go back to the shop floor after the Christmas-New Year break.

Some companies are trying to ensure staff won't find the return after the Christmas-New Year break too difficult. Source: 1 NEWS