A review suggests a Commonwealth workplace mental health program has led to increased productivity. 

In 2020, Comcare expanded its early intervention mental health program across Commonwealth workplaces. An independent evaluation has since found the scheme is delivering strong recovery and productivity outcomes.

Participants achieved a 73 per cent recovery rate from ‘NewAccess workplaces’ - a coaching service developed by Beyond Blue that addresses workplace mental health and wellness.

Following a successful trial in 2018-19, the two-year program commenced in July 2020 across 16 participating Australian Public Service agencies and was promoted to around 120,000 workers. 

An interim evaluation by PricewaterhouseCoopers found 93 per cent of workers who participated in the program were satisfied or very satisfied with NewAccess, and 90 per cent said 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 and, importantly, increased their ability to manage their mental health and wellness.

For employers, NewAccess helped to improve self-reported absenteeism and provided valuable insights into the reasons why workers accessed the program to help inform work health and safety programs and services.

NewAccess workplaces is a low intensity cognitive behaviour therapy (LiCBT) program with a strong focus on prevention and early intervention. 

Comcare says it will continue to explore opportunities to expand the LiCBT service across the scheme.

More details are accessible here.