Recovery Boost $50,000 funding program

Recovery Boost program guide

Who are we?

The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) is the NSW Government body responsible for regulating workers compensation insurance, motor accidents compulsory third party (CTP) insurance and home building compensation insurance in NSW.

Why are we running Recovery Boost?

Almost one in every two Australians will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime. Its impacts are far reaching on our communities, families, friendships, education and work. Improvements to an individual’s mental health can lead to improvements in all aspects of our broader society. The good news is, you don’t have to be an expert to help.

In other words, mental health affects everyone, and everyone can help.

We have a great opportunity in the workplace to help reduce the impact of mental health issues. Workplaces can play an important role in preventing mental health issues arising and can also make a difference in an individual’s recovery.

Research shows that workplaces can make a significant contribution to an individual’s recovery1, this contribution can lead to improved financial and social outcomes for the workplace and the individual2.

We have listened to workplaces in NSW, and we have heard that they want to help, but don’t know where to start.

We also know that many organisations in Australia have great idea’s for supporting workplaces with recovery and need funding. There is an opportunity to help these organisations and also strengthen the evidence base of what works.

That is why SIRA has developed Recovery Boost, a funding program aimed at projects that help mental health recovery at work. Through Recovery Boost, SIRA aims to expand the knowledge base of what works to support mental health recovery at work.

Recovery Boost will encompass numerous rounds of funding until the programs end in 2022. Three recipients were successful in during Round One in 2019. Round Two will be open on the 25th of June 2020.

What is SIRA funding?

Mental health recovery can be described as a journey, a journey which we are all on. Research suggests that when someone experiences mental health issues, there are three types of strategies workplaces can adopt. These are:

  1. Promoting and facilitating early help-seeking
  2. Supporting an individual’s recovery from a mental health issue
  3. Increasing awareness of mental health and reducing stigma

To strengthen the evidence base of these workplace strategies, Recovery Boost will use them as the key funding categories. To obtain funding via Recovery Boost, projects must demonstrate how they contribute to one or more of the funding categories. To help you understand what each of these categories are, we have provided a summary below:

Funding categories

1. Promote and facilitate early help-seeking

Promoting and facilitating early help-seeking is when a workplace encourages its workers to seek support when they are experiencing mental health issues.

There is increasing evidence that early intervention improves the outcomes of an individual who is experiencing mental health issues. Despite this, many people with common mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, do not seek help early. There are a range of reasons for this, such as stigma, fear of negative consequences, poor mental health literacy and difficulty accessing appropriate support.

Workplaces can play a key role in facilitating early access to support.

SIRA is funding projects that can help workplaces promote and facilitate early help-seeking of their workers.

2. Support recovery from a mental health issue

Supporting recovery from a mental health issue is when a workplace is actively involved in a worker’s recovery from a mental health issue.

There is a widely held assumption that an employee suffering from ill health of any type, but particularly mental health issues, needs to be fully recovered before they can return to work. This idea can potentially hinder or delay an employee’s recovery. In most cases, early return to work can play a significant part in a person’s recovery.

Supporting recovery from a mental health issue means providing workers with therapeutic relief and minimising the impact mental health issue have on the worker and the organisation.

SIRA is funding projects that can help workplaces support individual’s recovery whilst at work after experiencing mental health issues.

3. Increasing awareness of mental health and reducing stigma (in the workplace)

Increasing awareness of mental health and reducing stigma in the workplace is when workplaces adopt policies or initiatives that help its staff understand what mental health is and its importance.

Those suffering from mental health issues are one of the most stigmatised and excluded groups in our community. This stigma is often extended into the workplace. Any intervention to help recovery from mental health issues requires there to be awareness and acceptance of mental health issues.  Although there has been growing interest in mentally healthy workplaces in recent years, poor mental health literacy continues to impact on workers recovery.

SIRA is funding projects that can demonstrably increase the awareness of mental health in a workplace and reduce stigma.

What types of projects are SIRA looking for?

For projects to be successful, they must demonstrate that they meet at least one or more of Recovery Boost’s funding principles. These principles are important to ensure that projects SIRA funds can contribute to the evidence base of what organisations can do to help support recovery at work.

The funding principles are:

  • Sustainable: These are projects that can continue to have an impact beyond the projects nominated end date. In other words, sustainable projects maintain their viability and impact beyond the period of funding.
  • Innovative: These are projects that are new types of mental health interventions that aim to achieve recovery at work. This can include existing interventions that have been tailored for specific groups that have not previously been targeted. For innovative projects, evaluation is important, as they will help strengthen and broaden the evidence base of what works.
  • Adoptable in workplaces: These are projects that are easy for workplaces to adopt, using limited resources. Can be replicated and scaled in other workplaces and contexts, drawing on the learnings of the project. These types of projects are important to help NSW workplaces have access to interventions that are easy to use.


One of the key objectives of the Recovery Boost is to support in the development of the evidence base about what works. To obtain funding, projects will need to demonstrate how they will measure their effectiveness.

An example of this would be what explaining what your projects goals are, and how they will be measured.

Details of funding

Up to $50,000 dollars is available for successful projects. The funding duration for a project is a maximum of 18 months.

Funding amount

Opening and closing date expressions of interest

Funding duration

Up to $50,000

Opens: 25th June

Closes: 6th August

12 -18 months

Who can apply?

SIRA is looking to fund projects from organisations within Australia. This includes for-profit, not-for profit organisations, social enterprises, government agencies and individuals.

For the purpose of this program guide, we have defined a project as: “an undertaking with a beginning and an end in which a unique product, service or result is delivered”.  

To be successful organisations must:

  • have an ABN or ACN
  • demonstrate a capacity to deliver their project
  • have a project which demonstrates at least one funding principle and one funding category
  • have a proposal which encompasses basic project management.

There are certain target groups that SIRA is particularly interested in funding, these are groups where interventions for mental health recovery at work are limited, such as:

  • Rural and Regional
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Volunteer groups
  • Small Business’ and Micro-Business’

Application process

The application process for Recovery Boost will follow a stepped approach, as outlined in the below table:




#1 - Check your eligibility for funding

25th June - 6th August 2020

Round Two of Recovery Boost will be open on the 25th of June 2020.

Prior to submitting an expression of interest, it is recommended that you review the program guide and capability training provided on the Recovery Boost portal.

It is recommended to also check your eligibility.

  • Is your organisation eligible for funding?
  • Does your project meet the funding requirements?

#2 – Submit Expression of Interest

25th June – 6th August 2020

Once you have reviewed the program guide, submit an expression of interest via the Recovery Boost portal.

#3 - Submit Application form

Late August – October 2020

SIRA will review the expressions of interest once the funding round closes.

Expressions of interest that meet the funding requirements will be invited by SIRA to complete a full application.

#4 – Selection of successful applications

November – December 2020

A Selection Committee, comprising of mental health advocates and people with lived experience of mental health issues, will review all applications submitted to SIRA and nominate the successful applications for funding.

#5 – Announcement of successful recipients

December 2020

SIRA will announce the successful recipients of Recovery Boost Round Two

Selection criteria for Recovery Boost applications

A Selection Committee made up of stakeholders within the mental health system will review all submitted applications to determine which projects SIRA will fund. The Selection Committee will use the five criteria below when assessing the applications.

*Please note the criteria below refer to the application form only and do not apply to the expression of interest.

For the expression of interest criteria, please refer to the Recovery Boost EOI.

Criterion 1. Consistency with the Recovery@Work strategic goals

Does the application meet the required standards?

The application has been completed correctly and all sections have been answered.

The budget provided in the application clearly outlines the project costs.

Criterion 2. Does the project demonstrate one or more Recovery Boost funding principles?

Does the application clearly link their chosen funding principle to their project?

Yes = The funding principle is clearly integrated in the project design

Somewhat = funding principle is acknowledged as part of project design in a limited way

No = funding principle is not integrated into project design

Criterion 3. Does the project demonstrate one or more Recovery Boost funding categories?

Does the application clearly link their chosen funding categories to their project?

Yes = The funding category is clearly integrated in the project design

Somewhat = The funding category is acknowledged as part of project design in a limited way

No = The funding category is not integrated into project design.

Criterion 4. Does the project demonstrate use of project methodology?

Does the application meet the definition of a ‘project’

Definition of a project: “An undertaking with a beginning and an end in which a unique product, service or result is delivered”.

Does the application outline the expected deliverables and outcomes for the project?

The application should clearly outline the project deliverables and outcomes.

Does the application provide evidence to support the need for their project?

Evidence does not have to be ‘academic’ (could be organisations internal surveys for example).

Evidence should demonstrate a ‘knowledge gap’ that their project is filling.

Does the application explain how the project will be evaluated?

Does the application include reference to how the project will measure success and outcomes?

Criterion 5. Does the project demonstrate your capacity to deliver?

The application has considered and outlined:
  • skills, expertise, resources
  • relevant experience to deliver the project
  • ethical implications
  • perceived conflict of interest.
Is the project likely to succeed?

Has the application outlined relevant risks?

1. S Harvey et al (2014), Developing a mentally healthy workplaces: A review of the literature

2. Mental Health Commission of Canada (2019), A practical toolkit to help employers build an inclusive workforce