Collaboratively developing a world-first guide to workplace mental health with leading health services organisations.
Learn more about this project
Mental health is a particularly complex area of health. Conditions are often hidden, misunderstood and undiagnosed, and the stigma from decades past is still evident in the systems and language of our modern world – and in the silence. Only in recent years has the focus shifted from treatment to prevention, elevating schools, workplaces and other community institutions as important environments to foster positive attitudes and behaviour, and support people with mental health conditions.
Exposure to trauma, high pressure, strict hierarchies and un-sociable hours are some of the factors presenting risks to mental wellbeing in health service workplaces. Recognising this, Beyond Blue has worked to promote doctors’ mental health for many years. But in light of the continuing incidence of suicide, mental health conditions, and distress in the medical community, Beyond Blue recently turned its focus to promoting the benefits of creating mentally healthy workplaces in healthcare and providing practical resources through the Heads Up initiative, by substantially increasing engagement with Victorian health services. As part of this, Beyond Blue identified the need for health services to be better informed on and supported in creating a broad, comprehensive plan to support the mental health of all staff across the workplace. As such, it saw the need to provide a simple, practical, instructional guide for health services on how to develop and implement an overarching mental health strategy, guiding relevant personnel through the process of developing, applying and continuously improving a tailored mental health strategy in their own context.
Through Heads Up, the Beyond Blue promotes workplace mental health, with a particular focus on the unique mental health pressures in health service workplaces. Beyond Blue engaged Ellis Jones in the development, production and dissemination approach for a resource aimed at guiding health services through the process of developing a workplace mental health strategy.
Ellis Jones worked closely with Beyond Blue to consult a steering committee of hospital leaders and implementers, conduct academic research and gain a deep understanding of the hospitals context. With this, Ellis Jones developed a concise, accessible and supportive guide that is highly context-specific. To enhance usability, Ellis Jones made recommendations for document wayfinding and clear communication of processes through contemporary diagrams. Using insights gained, Ellis Jones also developed a dissemination plan for the final guide, to ensure it was delivered effectively into the right hands.
A world first, the guide – Developing a workplace mental health strategy: A how-to guide for health services – was launched on 30th August 2017 at a special dinner for health service leaders from across Victoria. The launch event demonstrated the importance of the guide and its potential impact on the health and wellbeing of all Victorians. The event, and the leadership commitment it gleaned, was followed by an action-focused pilot workshop with implementers of the guide from rural, regional and metro health services in Victoria.
In its first month, the guide was downloaded 1,266 times and 215 physical copies were ordered. It is being advocated by industry leaders such as Heads Up. Beyond Blue is committed to ensuring the guide does not sit dusty in desk drawers, but instead achieves its potential to truly change lives.
“Ellis Jones added value in the way of creative thinking and foresight. Their ability to translate complex concepts into practical, user friendly information was key to the successful development of the resource”
—Safia Roscoe, Health Services Project Manager, Beyond Blue
In its first month, the guide was downloaded 1,266 times and 215 physical copies were ordered.