How R U OK? can help prevent discrimination

News story
The 14 September is R U OK? day and by celebrating the day, organisations may be able to prevent mental impairment discrimination in the workplace.
Last updated: 12 September 2023
R U OK? Logo

R U OK? is a public health promotion charity that encourages people to stay connected and have conversations that can help others through difficult times in their lives. It is also a beneficial way to raise awareness and acceptance of mental impairment.

In the 2022-23 financial year over 20 percent of impairment discrimination complaints were regarding mental health impairment. 

WA Commissioner for Equal Opportunity Dr John Byrne said impairment discrimination complaints in employment were consistently the highest ground and area nominated in complaints from the WA public; however mental health discrimination was often difficult to prove.

"People still find it hard to disclose a mental health impairment to employers and colleagues," he said.

Dr Byrne said it is difficult for the complainant to show impairment discrimination has occurred if those accused of discriminating were not aware of the impairment in the first place.

He said an inclusive working environment could use occasions like R U OK? to demonstrate to those with mental health impairments they were supported.

"Celebrating days like R U OK? not only shows employees with mental health impairments they are supported, but it also shows all staff that mental health discrimination will not be tolerated, " Dr Byrne said.