Leading by example with mental health

By Altitude Advisory |

The perception of CEOs and senior leaders is often big pay cheques, flash cars, and overseas travel.

While for some this is true, the reality is they also work very long hours, shoulder the expectations of customers and clients, are responsible for staff and take the fall for their organisation’s failures.

Because of this, mental health issues are as prevalent among CEOs and senior leaders as any other employee, potentially even more so.

Last year’s Bupa Global study of CEOs and senior decision-makers found:

  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of senior business leaders have suffered from mental health conditions including anxiety, stress and depression.
  • 58% of business leaders say that in their position it’s hard to talk about mental health.
  • 1 in 4 people feel less support for mental health issues since becoming more senior.
  • Sufferers fear that talking about mental health would affect perceptions of their capabilities and career prospects.

The study suggests our bosses may be suffering in silence and are not getting the help or support they need.

This may be because their co-workers don’t know what to look for.

Here are the warning signs that someone may need support with their mental health:

Physical appearance

More tired or ‘flat’ than usual and lacking energy

  • Have had a pattern of illness or constantly run down
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Eating and drinking much more or much less than usual
  • Fidgety and more nervous than usual


  • More irritable than they’d normally be
  • More anxious or worried about everything
  • React more emotionally
  • Quick to anger
  • Appear overwhelmed by tasks that were previously manageable


  • More withdrawn than usual
  • Having difficulty concentrating or seem constantly distracted
  • Not performing to their usual standard
  • Avoid social situations with colleagues

Attitude & expression

  • Struggle to see positivity
  • Anticipate the worst in situations
  • Take things too personally
  • Complain they have difficulty switching off from work

Does your business need procedures and policies to support the mental health of your employees?

Altitude Advisory can help. Contact us on enquiries@altitudeadvisory.com.au or (08) 8172 1444.

For mental health support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

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