Skip to main content

5. Where to get assistance

2010 Workers with Mental Illness: a Practical Guide for Managers

back to index page

5. Where to get assistance


There is a wealth of information, services and resources that are specific to working with people with mental illness.

A comprehensive list is provided in the following areas:

  • Employment Services and Schemes (see section 5.1)
  • National Mental Health Services (see section 5.2)
  • OHS and workers’ compensation agencies (see section 5.3)

5.1 Employment services and schemes

JobAccess Advisers (free of charge service)

JobAccess is a confidential advice service available to managers who work with workers with disability, including workers with mental illness. The free telephone service provides:

  • expert advice on matters relating to the employment of people with disability
  • assistance with specific employment issues
  • advice about reasonable adjustments
  • referral to experts for further assistance
  • assistance with employment schemes and services
  • resources
  • access to funding to accommodate workers with disability in the workplace.

The JobAccess website:

The JobAccess website has been designed to provide information developed specifically for employers, job seekers and workers with disability, co-workers of people with disability and Australian Government employment service providers. It has systematic guides and checklists on recruitment, job searching, adjusting a workplace, employer incentives, understanding rights and responsibilities at work and much more.

JobAccess Website:

Employment Assistance Fund

The Employment Assistance Fund helps people with disability, injury or health condition and their employers by providing financial assistance for work-related equipment, modifications and services. The Fund provides assistance, which improves access to employment, work productivity and the independence of people with disability.

The Employment Assistance Fund is a pool of funds available to pay for the cost of special workplace equipment, services and modifications that are needed to accommodate a worker with disability, including mental illness.

The Fund has the flexibility to provide workplace solutions that really meet the individual needs of both employers and workers.

Financial assistance is available for a range of workplace solutions including: assistive technology, electronic and communication equipment, specialist support for workers with a learning disability and workers with mental illness, Auslan interpreting for job interviews and work-related activities, deafness awareness training and other disability awareness training.

Further information:

Disability Employment Services (DES) (free of charge service)

Disability Employment Services providers assist people with disability, injury, or health conditions, including people with mental illness, to find and keep a job.

A DES provider worked with a manager and employee with bipolar disorder, to make some adjustments to the work environment.

In consultation with the employee and manager, the following adjustments were arranged and implemented:

  • regular phone hookups between the worker and the DES provider to provide support
  • driving the worker to face-to-face counselling sessions during their work hours
  • adjusting the worker's hours of work to better suit their medication.

The DES provider continued to liaise with the manager and employee to provide, support, advice and training.

A DES provider commenting on their role when working with a worker with a mental illness


DES can also assist you if you currently employ, or wish to employ, people with disability or mental illness by:

  • discussing and identifying your employment requirements
  • identifying and implementing any workplace modifications or adjustments that may be required
  • providing on-the-job training, follow-up support and assistance to you and your worker as necessary
  • providing or facilitating relevant training as necessary (e.g. mental health awareness training)
  • obtaining and administering any relevant funding
  • liaising with you and your worker’s support network including their GP, mental health services and/or family, and
  • providing information specific to workplace relations and other human resource management issues.

DES commenced on 1 March 2010, replacing both the Disability Employment Network (DEN) and Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS).

Further information:

Disability Employment Services

Contact Centrelink Customer Service Centre:

A DES provider worked with Ruby, who was diagnosed with breast cancer and was suffering depression, along with carpal tunnel syndrome and a back injury.

Ruby worked with a rehabilitation consultant to learn ways to manage her anxiety and identify a suitable job goal; working in the aged care industry. She was also encouraged to access psychology services and have regular contact with her local doctor.

With assistance from her provider, Ruby completed a Certificate III in Aged Care. Ruby’s provider organised an on-the-job training placement, which enabled Ruby to apply for work. Ruby was successful in gaining employment with an employer that was flexible with her shifts and she was quickly offered a permanent job. For six months, Ruby’s provider maintained frequent contact to ensure access to support for both Ruby and her employer. Ruby has been employed in the aged care facility for the past three years.

A former VRS provider (now DES provider) commenting on their role when working with Ruby, a worker with a mental illness and other disability

The Australian Employers Network on Disability (membership fee required)

The Australian Employers Network on Disability is a not-for-profit organisation that assists organisations to build skills and confidence in relation to people with disability as employees, customers and other stakeholders, through training, consultancy services, publications and events. The Employers Network works with its members to remove any barriers that may exist in their recruitment processes to people with disability.

Further information:

Phone: 02 9261 3922
National: 1300 363 645
Facsimile: 02 9261 3966

5.2 National Mental Health Services

National telephone support, information and referral service

LifeLine Counselling

A national 24-hour telephone counselling services available to anyone who requires support, information and referral to relevant support services available in communities around Australia.

Phone: 13 11 14

Mensline Australia

A national 24-hour telephone support, information and referral service for men with family and relationship concerns.

Phone: 1300 78 99 78

beyondblue: the national depression initiative

beyondblue is a national, not-for-profit organisation working to address issues associated with depression, anxiety and related substance misuse disorders in Australia. Their website offers a range of resources and fact sheets for employers and managers, families and the community. They also provide a workplace training program for managers and employees.

beyondblue info: 1300 22 4636

headspace – National Youth Mental Health Foundation

headspace is Australia's National Youth Mental Health Foundation. It focuses on the mental health, social wellbeing and economic participation of young Australians aged between 12 and 25. The website provides information and resources, including fact sheets, specific to mental illness.

Phone: 03 8346 8213
Fax: 03 9349 5804

Mental Health Council of Australia

The Mental Health Council of Australia is the peak non-government organisation representing and promoting the interests of the Australian mental health sector, committed to achieving better mental health for all Australians.

Phone: 02 6285 3100

SANE Australia

SANE Australia is a national charity working for a better life for people affected by mental illness through campaigning, education and research. The organisation provides an online and telephone help line, online fact sheets and print and multi-media resources including specific information for employers, managers, co-workers and employees with mental illness. Workplace education and training is also provided.

Phone: 03 9682 5933
Helpline: 1800 187263

The Australian Psychological Society

The Australian Psychological Society is a professional association that represents psychologists in Australia. It provides information and resources covering a broad range of issues including depression and workplace issues. The website also provides a service to finding psychologists in your area.

Phone: 03 8662 3300
Toll-free: 1800 333 497

5.3 OHS Regulators and Workers’ Compensation authorities

OHS and workers’ compensation agencies in each Australian jurisdiction can be found on Safe Work Australia’s website.

Safe Work Australia