APS workplace mental health program showing strong results

By Jackson Graham

Friday October 22, 2021

The Comcare and Beyond Blue partnership, called NewAccess, is halfway through a two-year commitment
The Comcare and Beyond Blue partnership, called NewAccess, is halfway through a two-year commitment. (WavebreakMediaMicro/Adobe)

Nearly three-quarters of public servants seeking help with their mental health through a workplace program have recovered with its support, new data shows. 

The Comcare and Beyond Blue partnership, called NewAccess, is halfway through a two-year commitment offering coaching services to address mental health and wellness in Australian public sector workplaces.

According to a PwC interim analysis of the program, it has achieved a 73% recovery rate for those who have used the service. 

Sixteen APS agencies offer the program and have encouraged its use among 120,000 workers. Appointments have reached 450 bookings since it was rolled out in July 2020.  

Staff gave a glowing review to the service, according to the analysis, with 93% of participants ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’, and most saying the program exceeded their expectations.

“Participants reported marked improvements in work engagement, job satisfaction and productivity, and found the program helped to reduce their symptoms,” Comcare said in a statement. 

The federal authority said the program increased participants’ ability to manage their mental health and wellness and improved self-reported absenteeism. 

Work-related reasons staff accessed the service included workload, change, role clarity, remote or isolated work, and their physical environment. Personal reasons included family or relationship issues, social issues, or grief and bereavement. 

Insights from workers also helped to inform workplace health and safety programs and services, Comcare said. 

The program is coined a “low-intensity cognitive behaviour therapy program”, and focuses on prevention and early intervention. 

Off the back of the results, Comcare is considering opportunities to expand the service.

Comcare is hosting a series of webinars for national safe work month, including on Friday at 11am focusing on leadership and resilience in challenging times, and addressing safe and health workplaces on Wednesday, October 27

It follows a recorded webinar earlier this month exploring techniques for managing psychosocial hazards and risks. 


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