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Mental health coaching service (NewAccess) - Research project

For: Employers and managers Service providers Information seekers

The results of a six-month pilot trial of NewAccess within two Australian Public Service (APS) agencies showed it is an appropriate service for workplace settings. Comcare is expanding the NewAccess trial with an anticipated launch around mid-2020.

Project update

Following the success of the six-month pilot trial, we are looking to expand the NewAccess trial for two years, making the service available for all interested scheme employers.

The expanded trial will allow us to further evaluate the program’s effectiveness, including in the sustained recovery of participating workers.

We are currently seeking expressions of interest from employers to take part in the expansion trial.

The expansion of the NewAccess trial is expected to launch around mid-July 2020.

Project overview

Worldwide, 450 million people suffer from mental health conditions, making it one of the largest and fastest growing contributors to burden of disease. In Australia, it is estimated that half the population will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Yet, 65 per cent of affected individuals are still not receiving the evidence-based care they need and remain untreated.

The lack of evidence-based mental health care is costing workplaces over $A10 billion each year. This reflects the need to change the way workplaces are looking after their employees’ mental health and wellbeing.

The NewAccess mental health coaching service, developed by Beyond Blue, represents an innovative model of care that focuses on prevention and early intervention of mild to moderate anxiety and depression. NewAccess is based on the United Kingdom (UK) Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) program.

In 2018, Comcare ran a six-month pilot trial with 50 employees across two Australian Public Service agencies. NewAccess coaches worked alongside participants to develop a plan that involved using practical self-help tools and strategies to tackle day-to-day pressures, including work stress.

The trial was run to determine if NewAccess is a relevant and appropriate service for workplaces, and whether engagement with the service improves mental health, wellbeing, and work productivity.

Evaluation of the trial by PricewaterhouseCoopers indicates that it is an appropriate service for workplaces – delivering high recovery rates, meeting the needs and expectations of employees, enhancing job satisfaction and productivity, and proving to be economically viable.

Project participants

Project lead


Other organisations involved

Six-month pilot trial

  • Beyond Blue
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Two Australian Public Service agencies (employers cannot be named due to privacy requirements).

Expansion trial

  • Beyond Blue
  • Scheme employers
  • Service provider (TBC)
  • Evaluator (TBC).


NewAccess Trial Findings Summary document (PDF, 151.2 KB)

Related links

Beyond Blue NewAccess

More information

For more information on this project or to get involved, email mentalhealthprogram@comcare.gov.au.

This research project is part of our Research Plan Towards 2022 and supports our purpose to guide and support mental health and wellbeing.

Page last reviewed: 15 December 2019
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Date printed 27 May 2020