mental health

Each year 1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental illness. I think we can agree that’s too many. So what can we do?

Many people are not knowledgeable or confident to offer assistance for someone who is mentally unwell. Physical health is accepted and understood in our community and in breweries we use things like keg trolleys and pallet jacks to help us better handle our physical stressors. However, most brewers (and workplaces generally) do not know how to approach psychological stressors which may lead to mental health problems.

Below are six prompts to guide you towards a mentally healthy brewery:

1. prioritising mental health

Provide mental health education for all workers in the brewery (and kitchen, bar, logistics and other functions) to raise awareness, increase understanding and encourage open discussion. There are many tools and resources available to measure if the people in your brewery are thriving. More detail on these attributes and how to implement them in your brewery can be found at: Heads Up.

Thriving is described by Heads Up as:

  • Maximising Energy
  • Boosting Resilience
  • Developing People’s Strengths
  • Creating Connections
  • Making the Workplace Meaningful
  • Cultivating Grit

2. trusting, fair & respectful culture

Provide employees at all levels with skills to interact with honesty and respect with colleagues, contractors, customers and the general public. Would your crew know what to do if someone was mentally unwell in the brewery?

Information on Mental Health First Aid training courses can be found at:

3. open & honest leadership

Employ effective leadership to give employees a sense of shared purpose in the goals of the organisation. Explicitly tell everyone, it’s ok to not be ok. Lead and promote initiatives such as: RUOK Day and/or Movember.

4. set up the team for success

Set tasks that can be accomplished successfully in a reasonable time, using readily available resources. Arrange for employees to have control of the way they work and input to the important decisions of the organisation, so they feel included and that they are positively influencing the business. Offer an environment where employees have regular two-way feedback and are encouraged, acknowledged and rewarded. Investment in staff means they are more likely to be engaged, stimulated and satisfied by their work.

5. work / life integration  

Recognise that work life might not always strike the balance everyone strives for, with 5 days on and 2 off, it’s not designed to be balanced! Plus, with technology connecting us to work more often, the sweet spot might be better described as work/life integration. Where employees have the opportunity to blend the demands of work, family and personal life so they don’t have to miss out on important things, whilst still being productive.

6. mental health support 

Ensure that owners and head brewers are responsive to employees’ mental health conditions, regardless of cause and that adjustments to work and counselling support are available. Help can be easily found by calling Lifeline.

It may be difficult to identify if someone is mentally unwell, but if you are proactive with looking after your people, they will thrive and in turn be more productive in the brewery!

If you would like to have a private and confidential conversation about mental health, please contact victual.