Workplace mental health
The Black Dog Institute is proud to host the world-leading Workplace Mental Health Research Program led by consultant psychiatrist and senior researcher Associate Professor Samuel Harvey. Mental illness is now the leading cause of sickness absence and long term work incapacity in the developed world. Mental illness can have significant impacts on productivity, staff morale and organisational performance.
The Workplace Mental Health Research Program was established by the University of NSW in partnership with the Black Dog Institute and NSW Ministry of Health. The main aim of this program is to develop research focused on the mental health needs of NSW frontline emergency workers (police officers, ambulance officers and fire fighters). In addition to the work with the emergency services, the team are also developing a number of other projects focused on better understanding the link between other types of work and mental health.
Research shows that mental illness is now the leading cause of sickness absence and long term work incapacity in the developed world. It costs the Australian economy over $12 billion per year in lost productivity and has significant impacts on staff morale and organisational performance. The research team considers the role work may have in precipitating or preventing mental illness, the occupational outcomes for those already suffering from mental disorders, predictors of sickness absence and workplace based interventions for both the treatment and prevention of mental disorders.
The Mindtrack study will test different ways of communicating personal risk profiles in a mood-monitoring app and examine the impact on distress, wellbeing and engagement.
This study investigated the effect of mental health training on managers' knowledge, attitudes, confidence, and behaviour towards employees with mental health problems, and its effect on employee sickness absence.
HeadCoach is a comprehensive online training package that aims to help managers understand and support the mental health needs of employees reporting directly to them. The program is currently being evaluated through a cluster randomised controlled trial.
HeadGear aims to develop and evaluate a smartphone application-based intervention which combines and utilises two therapies (behavioural activation and mindfulness) which have been shown to be effective in the treatment and prevention of common mental disorders.
A randomised controlled trial of a web-based tool to improve decisional conflict about disclosure by employees with a mental health condition.
Inquiry into the mental health of first responders, emergency service workers and volunteers
For some first responders or emergency service workers, there is a mental health consequence to their regular exposure to trauma and human suffering.
This submission was prepared for the Australian Senate Education and Employment Committee in June 2018 to address the high rates of mental health conditions experienced by people working in these roles and environments.
Prevalence of PTSD and common mental disorders amongst ambulance personnel: a systematic review and meta-analysis
There is increasing concern regarding the mental health impact of first responder work, with some reports suggesting ambulance personnel may be at particularly high risk. Through this systematic review and meta-analysis we aimed to determine the prevalence of mental health conditions among ambulance personnel worldwide.
Black Dog Institute Workplace Mental Health and Wellbeing Program
The Black Dog Institute Workplace Mental Health and Wellbeing Program integrates research findings with clinical best practice and the perspective of lived experience to increase workplace resilience and empower staff and management to proactively address the mental health of themselves and their fellow workers.
Focusing on prevention, our skills-based workshops are delivered by experienced clinical facilitators and address issues at the individual, team and organisation levels.
Expert Guidelines - Diagnosis and Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Emergency Service Workers
A panel of leading academia and specialists from across Australia, led by Associate Professor Sam Harvey from Black Dog Institute and University of NSW, have combined expert clinical opinion with the best available research evidence to develop the world’s first set of guidelines specific to the needs of emergency workers.
Aiming to provide treating general practitioners, psychologists, psychiatrists, therapeutic providers and workers compensation claims managers, the Guidelines support a best practice and treatment approach of emergency workers suffering, or at risk of, PTSD.
The Guidelines were also developed as resource for workers, their families and carers alike; in a bid to provide them with a clearer means of accessing specific and required support. They also provide a series of recommendations about future work required.
The guidelines have been endorsed as gold standard by the Royal Australian and NZ College of Psychiatrists.
A Clinician’s Summary of the Expert Guidelines on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Emergency Service Workers
Around 1 in 10 emergency service workers have symptoms consistent with PTSD. Although there have been advances in the management of this condition, diagnosis and treatment can still be complicated.
With the aim of encouraging rapid achievement of best practice in clinicians' management of emergency service workers, several of the authors behind the 2015 publication, Expert Guidelines: Diagnosis and Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Emergency Service Workers, have drawn on these guidelines to create an evidence-based summary that has been endorsed by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.
This is the latest piece of an extensive program of work that has significantly contributed to new knowledge and understanding of PTSD.
NSW Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy for First Responders
The work done by front line first responders can be confronting and for some lead to severe mental distress. In the past, some first responders have suffered in silence and without the correct support and assistance have had to prematurely leave work due to mental health issues. The Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy for First Responder Organisations in NSW have been developed to guide first responder agencies in their effort to protect and promote mental health and wellbeing in first responders.
Led by Associate Professor Sam Harvey, the strategy consists of six objectives that were developed in collaboration with five first responder agencies. The strategy was made possible by the Mental Health Commission of NSW which brought the first responder agencies together, and the Black Dog Institute and University of New South Wales, which provided the evidence base to support the strategy direction.
Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance
The Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance brings together like-minded organisations committed to working with businesses to create mentally health workplaces. The Black Dog Institute is a founding member of the Alliance.
Associate Professor Harvey and his team provide research expertise to the Mentally Health Workplace Alliance and, in 2014, the Alliance and beyondblue launched the “Heads Up” campaign to raise awareness of workplace mental health and provide a range of resources and information.