Entry into all of Comcare’s offices is restricted due to the pandemic. Find out how you can contact us.

Use space to open navigation items

Mental health coaching service (NewAccess workplaces)

For: Employers and managers Service providers Information seekers

Comcare partnered with Beyond Blue to provide NewAccess workplaces to Australian Public Service (APS) agency partners over a two-year period from mid-2020.

Project update - final evaluation

Following the success of our 2018-19 NewAccess pilot trial, Comcare rolled out the program to 16 Australian Public Service agencies in 2020, which made the program available to up to 120,000 workers.

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ final evaluation of the program found a 72% recovery rate was achieved among participants. It also found 89% of workers were satisfied or very satisfied with the program and 89% said NewAccess exceeded or met their expectations.

The final evaluation highlights the effectiveness of NewAccess workplaces in supporting the needs of employees, particularly as an alternative option to other mental health and wellbeing offerings such as EAP services.

NewAccess workplaces is available to workers at participating agencies until 16 September 2022, when the extended trial officially concludes.

Find out more in the final evaluation findings summary (PDF, 206.4 KB).

Project overview


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 nearly $A13 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.

Pilot trial

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 productivity of participants.

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ evaluation of the pilot trial showed high participant recovery rates (78%), enhanced job satisfaction and productivity, and economic viability.

Extended trial

Following the successful pilot, Comcare initiated the NewAccess workplaces extended trial. This two-year national mental health initiative for APS agency partners started mid-2020.

Results from the final evaluation contribute to the growing evidence around effective workplace mental health prevention and early intervention supports.

Project participants

Project lead

Comcare is leading NewAccess workplaces, making the service available to employees within participating APS agency partner organisations.

Other organisations involved

  • Beyond Blue
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • The Richmond Fellowship of Queensland
  • Participating APS agencies.

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.

More information

See other mental health initiatives that Comcare is leading or a part of.

For more information on this project, please email newaccess@comcare.gov.au.

Page last reviewed: 19 August 2022
Get updates from us
Subscribe to Comcare eNews to receive information from the national work health and safety authority.

GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 | www.comcare.gov.au

Date printed 28 Sep 2022