Introduction to Recovery Boost

Download a pdf

About 1 in every 2 Australians will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime[1] with four million people estimated to have experienced a common mental disorder in 2015[2].

Adults spend roughly one third of their lives at work[3]. Workplace risks, such as job demands, exposure to trauma, team factors and organisational change all have a significant impact on mental health.

By implementing strong workplace strategies, mental health issues in the workplace can be greatly mitigated.[4] However, not all mental health issues can be prevented. Workplaces have an important role in an individual’s recovery from mental health issues.

To create long lasting change individuals, carers, providers, communities, governments and employers all need to work together to address the social and economic impacts of poor mental health[5] [6].

That is why SIRA has developed Recovery Boost, a funding program open to organisations that can deliver projects that assist with mental health recovery at work. For the first round of funding, up to $50,000 is available.

The importance of delivering meaningful recovery at work is clear - 71% of organisational leaders stated that their organisation has leaders committed to promoting the mental health of staff but just 37% of employees agreed.[7]

SIRA commissioned Monash University to conduct a rapid review into recovery at work tools for mental health. The report found that tools were often not adequately evaluated, were difficult to access, had poor readability and required prior knowledge.

Funding amount:

Opening and closing date expressions of interest

Funding duration

up to $50,000

Opens:  20th September 2019

Closes: 8th November 2019

12-18 months

Who can apply?

To be eligible, proposals must be from organisations that can either implement or develop a mental health recovery at work project that will benefit organisations in NSW.

Details of Funding

  • Funding is available for projects that support better health outcomes for people managing mental health issues at work
  • Funding is available for up to $50,000 per project

Use of Funding

Funding provided by SIRA must be used for a project which seeks to achieve one or more of the following aims (drawn from the conceptual model in figure 1):

  • Promote and facilitate early help seeking:
  • Increase awareness of mental health and reduce stigma (in the workplace):
  • Support recovery from a mental health issue

A framework to create more mentally healthy workplaces

Figure 1: A framework to create more mentally healthy workplaces: A viewpoint (2018). Published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry

Funding Principles

Applications that adopt one or more of the below principles will be more likely to be successful:

  • Sustainable: Initiatives that are viable long term is critical. Initiatives will be chosen based on their viability and potential impact beyond the period of funding
  • Innovative: new or modified projects that have the potential to improve health outcomes
  • Adoptable in workplaces: initiatives that can be adopted and replicated in workplaces. Successful initiatives will be easy for workplaces to adopt and understand


One of the key objectives of the Recovery Boost grant program is to support in the development of the evidence base about what works. Applications must include an outline of how the effectiveness of the project will be measured.

Evaluation discussion questions:

  • What are your goals, and how will you measure them?
  • What are the lead indicators that will show if you are heading in the expected direction?
  • Will you use qualitative or quantitative measures, or a mixture?
  • How will you integrate evaluation into your project, i.e. at what points in time will you gather data?
  • Will you need assistance in evaluating your project? How will you get this assistance?

Assessment Criteria for the expression of interest

Selection will be determined by an internal panel including people with lived experience and judged against the assessment criteria below:

Criterion 1. Consistency with the Recovery@Work strategic goals

Does the project meet at-least one Recovery@Work strategic goal?
  • Will the project promote and facilitate early help-seeking?
  • Will the project support recovery and return to work?
  • Does the project increase awareness of mental health issues or reduce stigma?
Does the project meet the funding categories?
  • Is the project sustainable and adoptable in workplaces?
  • Is the project innovative?
  • Can the project demonstrate proven effectiveness?
Only for innovation projects
  • How will the research be translated for the workplace?

Criterion 2. Capacity to deliver

Does the applicant outline their capacity to deliver their application?
  • Does the proposal outline the skills, expertise, resources and commitment of all participants in the project?
  • To what extend does the applicant rely on partners to help deliver the project?
  • Does the application indicate in-kind support for the project?

Criterion 3. Outcomes

Is the proposed project likely to have lasting effects and a reasonable likelihood of success; and have appropriate indicators to measure success been identified?
  • What is your overall assessment of the long-term benefits of the project?
  • Given the objectives, methodology, estimated budget and timeframe, what is the likelihood of success of the project?
  • Have the appropriate measures of success been developed?
  • Is there a commitment to continue to measure outcomes post project completion date?
  • Is the project lead willing to commit in-kind to continued evaluation of the project post 18 months if necessary?

Application process




Step 1

Sep – Nov 2019

Download and read the program document (this document)

Step 2

Sep – Nov 2019

Check your eligibility:

  • Is your organisation eligible
  • Are your activities suitable for this program

Step 3

Sep – Nov 2019

Complete the Expression of interest (EOI) form

Step 4

(If successful during step 3)

Nov – Dec 2019

Participate in on boarding process.

Participants with successful EOI’s will be supported with sessions prior to the commencement of projects.

Monitoring project

Successful applicants will be required to provide the SIRA the following documentation over the life of the project.




Interim financial report

6 months (or half way)

A brief overview of the expenditure for the project at its half-way milestone

Progress report

6 months (or half way)

A status update on the project at its half-way mark

Final report

Project completion

An review of the project, including its outputs and impact.

  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2009). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 4326.0, 2007. ABS: Canberra.
    UNSW and Black Dog Institute. (2014). Developing a Mentally Heathy Workplace
  2. Mental health services in Australia, web report, 5 Dec 2018
  3. World Health Organisation. (1994). Global Strategy on occupational health for all: the way to health at work
  4. N Glozier. (2017) Review of Evidence of Interventions to Reduce Mental Ill-health in the Workplace, USYD
  5. COAG. (2012). The Roadmap for National Mental Health Reform
  6. Mental Health Commission of NSW. (2014). Living Wel
  7. TNS (2014). State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia. Melbourne: Beyond Blue. Link to report