A nationally consistent approach to workplace mental health.

Learn more about this project


Australia has a serious mental health challenge – and opportunity. One in five Australians experience a mental illness in any year. Annually, 25% of all Australian workers take time off due to stress. 78% of people have suffered a mental or physical injury at work. And, only one in two Australians perceive their workplace to be ‘mentally healthy’. The estimated direct financial cost of mental illness to Australian businesses each year is $13 billion.

What if mental health was viewed as not a problem to fix but an opportunity to enhance individual quality of life, build high performing businesses and achieve social and economic impact?

In the 2019-20 Federal Budget the Government announced an investment of $11.5 million over four years for the National Workplace Initiative (NWI). The NWI is providing a nationally consistent approach to workplace mental health, targeting all businesses in Australia.


Ellis Jones is working with the NWI on their strategic communications and brand identity.

The NWI needs to reach every worker and every business in Australia – from sole trader companies to major corporations. And each and every individual needs to recognise the potential relevant to their role and industry.

Our work comprises:

  • National perception and behavioural research study on workplace mental health
  • In-depth stakeholder research of Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance members
  • Focus group testing of best practice communication tools for educating and promoting workplace mental health
  • Communications strategy
  • Behaviour change model and tools
  • Vision and framework co-design
  • Brand and visual identity development
  • Visual direction and assets for the digital platform
  • Name, key message and language development
  • Stakeholder communications strategy and plan
  • Engagement Network approach and design
  • Website, creative assets and communications collateral design and development
  • Design and management of a community of practice feature leaders in mental health, business and advocacy organisations.


Over the last 18 months, Ellis Jones has delivered a series of outputs for the NWI.

  • Quantitative research provided a baseline understanding of Australian perceptions of mental health
  • Large scale virtual workshops brought over 50 experts and leaders of representative organisations across Australia together to define the characteristics of mentally healthy workplaces, and help build a vision.
  • A behaviour change model and canvases for the NWI to use in designing campaigns, education resources and other interventions, collaboratively, with partners.
  • Application of a signature brand and visual identity to digital platform and collateral design.
  • Communications strategy to position the NWI within the mental health ‘space’, defining what it is and how it can help.
  • Focus testing providing guidance on branded assets, value proposition, language and tone, as well as the optimal format and content of case studies.

In September 2021, the Blueprint for Mentally Healthy Workplaces was released. This living document is a foundational reference for all organisations and business types. It establishes a nationally consistent approach to mentally healthy workplaces.

The Ellis Jones design studio is also assisting the Commission in the design and production of its annual reports.

From the insights and strategy phases to identity development and communication, working on the National Workplace Initiative has seen all Ellis Jones teams work together, validating our multidisciplinary model – and our deep commitment to mental health.


Illustrations of different people in different organisations.
An example of a plan on a page.