Mental health in the profession

Mental health is sometimes described as a continuum, where good mental health is at one end, and mild to severe mental illnesses at the other end. We can move back and forward along this continuum at different times during our lives.

Mental health is defined by the World Health Organization as ‘a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community’. Good mental health provides the foundation for an individual’s effective functioning and wellbeing.

Architects are particularly vulnerable to mental health issues as a result of factors, such as long hours and a culture of perfectionism (Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum). Architecture has been described as an 'anxious discipline' (Kinnaird, 2016). Understanding mental health risks and protective factors, the roles and responsibilities of employers and employees in creating a safe work environment (including the requirements of WHS legislation) and being aware of and promoting mental health resources and programs are all critical to effectively managing mental health issues in the profession.