Mental health coaching service (NewAccess workplaces) project
Comcare is partnering with Beyond Blue to provide NewAccess workplaces to Australian Public Service (APS) agency partners over a two-year period from mid-2020.
Following the success of our 2018-19 NewAccess pilot trial, we are leading NewAccess workplaces from mid-2020. This is a two-year national mental health initiative for APS agency partners.
Through a robust evaluation of NewAccess workplaces, we will also contribute to the evidence around effective workplace mental health prevention and early intervention supports.
In Australia, it is estimated that half the population will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Yet, 65 per cent of affected people 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 the mental health and wellbeing of employees.
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/or depression. NewAccess is based on the United Kingdom (UK) Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) program.
In 2018-19, Comcare led a six-month pilot trial with 50 employees across two APS 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 purpose of the pilot trial was to determine how effective and appropriate the NewAccess service was in a workplace setting, and whether engagement with the service improved mental health, wellbeing, and the work productivity of participants.
PricewaterhouseCoopers’ evaluation of the pilot trial showed high participant recovery rates (78%), enhanced job satisfaction and productivity, and economic viability.
Following the successful 2018-19 pilot trial, Comcare is leading NewAccess workplaces. This is a two-year national mental health initiative for APS agency partners starting mid-2020.
Through a robust program evaluation, Comcare will further contribute to the evidence around effective workplace mental health prevention and early intervention supports.
Comcare is leading NewAccess workplaces, making the service available to employees within participating APS agency partner organisations.
Other organisations involved
Other organisations involved in the six-month pilot trial:
- Beyond Blue
- Two Australian Public Service agencies (employers cannot be named due to privacy requirements).
Findings and reports
Why this research is important
This research project is part of our Research Plan Towards 2022 and supports our purpose to guide and support mental health and wellbeing.
One in five Australians are likely to suffer a mental health condition at any given time, and nearly one third of Australians are affected by workplace stress.
The Productivity Commission’s Draft Report into Mental Health has estimated that its cost to the Australian economy could be up to $51 billion per year. However, for every $1 that a workplace invests in creating and supporting a mentally healthy workplace there is on average a $2.30 return.
These benefits are often seen through improved productivity when workers are engaged and satisfied at work and through reduced compensation claims when workers experience safe and healthy work practices.
We continue to add to the growing evidence-base on what employers, managers and workers can do to create mentally healthy workplaces.
For more information on this project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.