Mentally healthy workplaces

Learn from research

On this page, we’ve translated research and data to make it easier for you to pick the best actions, to have the biggest impact in creating a mentally healthy workplace.

The mental health challenges your workplace faces may vary based on your industry, business size, your role in the organisation or because of other factors.

Benchmarking - what we found

The NSW mentally healthy workplaces benchmarking tool study1 shows many workplaces in NSW have room to improve their approach to mental health. It also identified industries that have the most room for improvement so our efforts and money can be used where they are needed most.

Industries and regions that most need to build skills

Benchmarking tool data1 shows the following industries are high-risk because they currently lack the knowledge or skills to create a mentally healthy workplace:

  • professional, scientific and technical services
  • information media and telecommunications
  • transport, postal and warehousing
  • manufacturing.

The data also shows of all of the regions in NSW, workplaces in Wollongong or Sydney have the greatest opportunity to improve.

Industries with high rates of mental ill-health

According to a recent study,2 industries with the most cases of mental ill-health are those with the lowest job security and job control, such as:

  • manufacturing
  • retail
  • accommodation/food services
  • administrative services.

Roles commonly found in these industries (with the least autonomy and security) were found to have higher rates of mental ill-health.

Learn how to improve mental health in your workplace.

Strategy research

These research papers informed the NSW Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy 2018-2022.

Mentally healthy workplaces: a return on investment study - August 2017

This report combines the evidence of effects for workplace interventions, the costs of undertaking these and real world data on the prevalence and costs of mental ill-health in Australian employees to show the potential impact employers could have just on their own bottom line.

Mentally healthy workplaces: a return on investment study - August 2017

Mentally healthy workplaces in NSW discussion paper - September 2017

The purpose of this discussion paper is to frame discussions at the Mental Health Safety Summit. It does so in five parts: Parts 1 and 2 provide a fact base for the Summit and Parts 3 to 5 will stimulate discussions for the Summit. The paper is informed by a detailed literature review of academic research on psychosocial risks and evidence-informed interventions and key issues emerging from the review. It does not examine barriers and enablers for people with mental ill-health entering the workforce.

Mentally healthy workplaces in NSW discussion paper - September 2017

Mentally healthy workplaces in NSW benchmarking tool

This benchmarking tool was developed in collaboration with experts and advocates to measure the capability of workplaces to create a mentally healthy workplace.

Mentally healthy workplaces in NSW benchmarking tool - October 2017 - for the full report

Mentally healthy workplaces in NSW benchmarking tool overview - October 2017 - for the snapshot

Review of evidence of psychosocial risks for mental health

This is based on the literature review of the risks for mental ill-health at work and analytic and conceptual work that the authors have been involved in over the past two decades in this area.

Download the review of evidence of psychosocial risks for mental health

Review of interventions to reduce mental ill-health in the workplace

There is a disconnection between the evidence base of interventions designed to reduce workplace
mental ill-health and our knowledge of the main risk factors for workplace mental ill-health.

Review of interventions to reduce mental ill-health in the workplace

Key issues for SafeWork NSW emerging from review of risks for workplace mental ill-health

This is summary is based upon the literature review of the risks for mental ill-health at work
and analytic and conceptual work that the authors have been involved in over the past two
decades in this area.

Key issues for SafeWork NSW emerging from review of risks for workplace mental ill-health

More on research

  • Our Recovery @ Work Support Tools Rapid Review report, has identified many tools to help people recover from mental health conditions at work.
  • Black Dog Institute is a translational research institute that aims to reduce the incidence of mental illness and the stigma around it, to actively reduce suicide rates and empower everyone to live the most mentally healthy lives possible.
  • The Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health is a state-wide organisation that is committed to improving the mental health, wellbeing and resilience of rural and remote residents.
  • Everymind is a leading national institute dedicated to reducing mental ill-health, reducing suicide and improving wellbeing.
  • The Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research website was developed through a partnership between Monash University, WorkSafe Victoria and the Transport Accident Commission and provides access to health and safety evidence.
  • Well@work is dedicated to radically improving the mental health of men and women working in male-dominated industries. Workers in male-dominated workplaces face particular challenges with regard to mental health including higher rates of depression, stigma and low rates of help-seeking. Well@Work is lead by a team of researchers in mental health and technology working side-by-side professionals in transport, agriculture, emergency services and other male-dominated industries.
  • Comcare research program aims to gather and share evidence to inform improvements in work health and safety policies and practices including to support health and wellbeing.
  • The CSIRO workplace safety futures report for SafeWork Australia talks about how new technologies and ways of working will create new challenges but also have the potential to make work safer. It talks about six 'megatrends' that will reshape workplace health and safety.

  1. SafeWork NSW and Instinct and Reason, Mentally healthy workplaces in NSW benchmarking tool study, 2017
  2. UTS & the University of Sydney, Mentally healthy workplaces: a return on investment study, 2017