Returning to work after a mental health issue

Returning to work after a mental health issue can be daunting.

You may have lost some of your confidence and aren’t sure what sort of reception you are going to receive.

A mentally healthy organisation will support an employee who is returning to a workplace. They are likely to offer you support, address any causes that may have contributed to your illness, and consult with you to prepare a return-to-work plan. So what can you do make this transition go smoothly?


Tips to make returning to work go smoothly

  • Speak to your mental health professional about your progress and what you think you will be able to do.
  • Keep in touch with your employer while you are away and contribute to your return-to-work plan. The plan can include your start date, hours of work, duties, tasks to avoid, support to be provided, and review dates.
  • Stay positive and focus your energy on what you can do, instead of what you cannot do. Try not to think about the past, but instead look ahead to where you are trying to go in life.
  • Be patient. It may take a while for you to adjust to being back. Try not to get frustrated if you think your progress isn’t going quickly. These things can take time.
  • Try to stay organised at work. List your tasks and manage your time, so things don’t get on top of you.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are feeling overwhelmed, speak to your manager to get some support.
  • Take care of yourself. Make sure you exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, and keep in touch with family and friends.

For many people, going back to your workplace has advantages. It can help you with your recovery, increase your confidence, give you more independence, and lets you interact with people.


If you are considering heading back to work and feel overwhelmed by it all, you can speak to a health practitioner or call one of our counsellors on Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

If it is an emergency, call 000.