OUR WORK

Read more about the Alliance’s work to promote mentally healthy workplaces

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Heads up

The Alliance has partnered with Beyond Blue on a national campaign – Heads Up – to support and create mentally healthy workplaces for all businesses across all sectors.

Heads Up has produced resources for businesses, large and small, for managers, the boardroom and employees.

You can find more information and resources, tools and support to create a more mentally healthy workplace here.

Development of a National Workplace Initiative

The Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance is committed to partnering with all Australian workplaces through the National Workplace Initiative to create mentally healthy workplaces for businesses and workers – strengthening our community and our economy.

Assessing need for national approach to workplace mental health

SuperFriend and Beyond Blue commissioned broad consultations in 2016 to inform a discussion paper on behalf of the Alliance. This discussion paper considered the need, appetite for, and feasibility of a national workplace mental health initiative for all workplaces in Australia.

These targeted consultations with more than seventy stakeholders started an important discussion between the mental health sector, governments, employers, unions and employees about the value of a national initiative, what it might do and how it would be beneficial.

This project also reviewed current available information and standards, peer reviewed and grey literature and consulted with stakeholders in the UK and Canada where national initiatives have been implemented.

The outcomes found an appetite for a national initiative for Australian workplaces to help all employers be able to create mentally healthy workplaces and address employee mental health. 

In Australia, employers reported being confused about what to do and overwhelmed by the quantity of information provided by governments, NGO and commercial products.  Furthermore, the feedback indicated the need for this initiative to be aspirational and provide direction and guidance for workplaces to achieve beyond the minimum legislative obligations to create a culture supportive of all employees’ mental health whether they are impacted by mental illness or not.

ALLIANCE PRIORITISES NATIONAL WORKPLACE INITIATIVE

In March 2017, Alliance Members agreed to prioritise the creation of a National Workplace Initiative that would be useful to all Australian businesses and organisations in adopting workplace mental health strategies.  This would bring together and build on existing resources to provide simple, consistent and useful information and support.

HELP US CREATE MENTALLY HEALTHY WORKPLACES

The Alliance has now completed initial scoping work and some preliminary stakeholder engagement to gather input about how it might be progressed.

Our vision is to create a National Workplace Initiative that will provide consistent and useful advice and implementation support for all Australian workplaces.  We envisage resources and online tools to support workplaces to develop and implement their strategy, and to provide practical implementation support.

The Alliance has directly engaged with unions through the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) about the National Workplace Initiative and is holding forums with other interested stakeholders from industry, workplace regulators and government through October and November 2018.

Please contact the Alliance – through our contact form, if you would like further information about the Initiative or to provide written input.

STAKEHOLDER FORUMS AND PRELIMINARY FEEDBACK

The Alliance is committed to ongoing engagement with anyone interested in the development of a National Workplace Initiative. Co-designing the components of the Initiative is critical to success.  Some preliminary stakeholder engagement and input has occurred during 2018.

In August 2018, the Alliance commenced a series of stakeholder forums. The first workshop was held with the Australian Council of Trade Unions where Union representatives discussed the National Workplace Initiative, and its potential benefits to their members. A copy of the communique from this workshop can be found here. Following this, the Alliance held three forums in Melbourne on 29 October and 12 November 2018 with representatives from business, the mental health sector and state and territory governments. A visual representation of the discussions at these forums appears below. A copy of the presentation from the forums can be found here.

At these forums the Alliance heard it will be important to provide consistent information, national data and evidence; best practice tools for everyone to use; a framework to measure success; implementation support; and the Initiative should build on what is already available and complement other initiatives.

It was also clear from the input received there will be challenges in implementing the Initiative such as existing organisational cultures, demonstrating the value-add to workplaces and providing useful resources.

The Alliance is committed to continuing these discussions and to co-designing the Initiative.

Visual representation of the forum discussions:

MHWA Government Forum 2018

MHWA Industry Forum 1 – 2018

MHWA Industry Forum 2 – 2018

LANDMARK INVESTMENT FOR THE NATIONAL WORKPLACE INITIATIVE

The Federal Government provided a landmark investment of $11.5 million over four years in the Federal Budget for the Alliance to continue work on the National Workplace Initiative. This funding has been provided to realise, for the first time, a truly national approach to workplace mental health.

Key components of the Initiative are likely to include:

  • Useful national workplace mental health resources that detail what works and a clear, step by step, process for action. They will draw on existing resources.
  • Simple, practical implementation guidance material to assist workplaces to convert their mental health strategies into action.

The Alliance will work with all stakeholders to develop these and to determine the most appropriate implementation assistance required.

This funding is just the start and there is a long way to go to turn the idea into action. The Alliance is committed to working with people with lived experience, business, unions, mental health organisations and practitioners, and governments and regulators to ensure this first of its kind national initiative is co-designed to meet the needs of all. The Alliance is particularly conscious of the need to work with governments right across Australia to leverage and complement their good work as it progresses.

Safe Work Australia Virtual
Seminar Series

About the seminars

Safe Work Australia regularly broadcast free online seminars that showcase the latest thinking, research, developments and best practice in work health and safety. The Alliance has contributed to the seminar series with the following virtual presentations:

The business case for creating a mentally healthy workplace (2015)

This brief video provides some compelling evidence to demonstrate that creating a mentally healthy workplace is good for business.

Facts and fallacies behind mentally healthy workplaces (2016)

Mrs Lucinda Brogden (Chair), Carolyn Davis and Dr Peter Cotton discuss some of the facts and fallacies about workplace mental health. This seminar was recorded as a live broadcast on 10 October 2016.

Our Work

Developing a Mentally Healthy Workplace: A review of the literature

A central piece of work conducted for the Alliance is an Australian-first review of the research around workplace mental health.

Developing a Mentally Healthy Workplace: A review of the literature, was produced by the University of New South Wales and the Black Dog Institute.

The report brings leading mental health and business experts together for the first time to look at the evidence of what works in creating and maintaining a mentally healthy workplace. Where possible, it also provides practical advice for businesses. In addition to providing a detailed analysis of the research, the report identifies six key success factors for a creating a mentally healthy workplace and suggests a five-step process for embedding them.

Download a summary of the report (PDF 3.5 MB) HERE to help start a conversation in your organisation.

The full report can also be downloaded HERE: Developing a Mentally Healthy Workplace: A review of the literature (WORD 1.7 MB).

Our Work

Developing a Mentally Healthy Workplace: A review of the literature

A central piece of work conducted for the Alliance is an Australian-first review of the research around workplace mental health.

Developing a Mentally Healthy Workplace: A review of the literature, was produced by the University of New South Wales and the Black Dog Institute.

The report brings leading mental health and business experts together for the first time to look at the evidence of what works in creating and maintaining a mentally healthy workplace. Where possible, it also provides practical advice for businesses. In addition to providing a detailed analysis of the research, the report identifies six key success factors for a creating a mentally healthy workplace and suggests a five-step process for embedding them.

Download a summary of the report (PDF 3.5 MB) HERE to help start a conversation in your organisation.

The full report can also be downloaded HERE: Developing a Mentally Healthy Workplace: A review of the literature (WORD 1.7 MB).

Video stories
(case studies)

Another core piece of the Alliance’s work, which features as part of Heads Up, is nine video stories (case studies) showcasing the mental health and wellbeing initiatives of a range of organisations.

You can view these videos on YouTube via the links below:

Clean Force

Clean Force’s mission is to provide both high-quality commercial cleaning services, and enriching jobs for people with mental health conditions, who are often excluded from the workforce. Creating a mentally healthy workplace is an inherent part of this aim.

Fire and Rescue NSW

While firefighting is a rewarding experience, Fire and Rescue NSW recognised that the role can be extremely demanding and traumatic.
Out Doors Inc.’s approach to mental health is evident in its workplace philosophy of fostering mental health wellness and a culture of openness.

Craze Lateral (Small Business)

As a very small company, resources for internal mental health initiatives are limited.  Craze Lateral’s primary focus for improving employees’ mental health is through its local Bushcare Group.

Entity Solutions

Entity Solutions runs a range of initiatives to support a mentally healthy workplace — formal and informal, financial and non-financial, and recurring and one-off. These are linked to the company’s corporate social responsibility mission statement.

King & Wood Mallesons

Together with four major law firms in Australia and The College of Law, King & Wood Mallesons developed resilience@law.

Access EAP

To address mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, Access EAP launched monthly workshops focusing on topics around mental health and resilience.

ISS Facility Services

One of Australia’s largest facility services providers, ISS provides a range of functions including facility management, cleaning, security services, and management of open spaces.