A world-first program involving 60,000 Australian men in high-risk jobs is pioneering a new suite of evidence-based initiatives to change workplace cultures and prevent mental health problems in men.
“Most mental health programs currently used in Australian workplaces aren’t evidence-based, can’t be implemented on a large scale, and aren’t necessarily tailored to meet the needs of men,” says Professor Nick Glozier of the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Research Institute.
“However, emerging knowledge on men’s mental health together with recent developments in using technology for promoting wellbeing, what A/Prof Rafael Calvo calls positive computing, has given us a rare opportunity to develop a radically new type of mental health program.”
“The new Men at Work program draws on a game changing approach that incorporates the latest technology to provide mental health screening and interventions in an individually tailored way.”
Funded by beyondblue and the Movember Foundation, the Men at Work program comprises four elements:
- A new smartphone application giving men a simple way to assess and monitor their mental health
- An open access web-based platform providing men with a best evidence personalised mental health plan
- Assistance for workplace managers to foster healthy cultures and help workers about whom they are concerned
- An industry roll out plan to ensure that evidence-based best practices reach more male dominated workplaces
“Many men spend most of their waking hours within the workplace and it can be an important source of both stress and support,” says Dr Sam Harvey of UNSW’s Black Dog Institute.
“However, many men struggle to reach out for help because they fear what others might think. This program assists men by offering them personalised and confidential guidance, as well as additional information on where to seek appropriate support.”
The $2.8m program involves experts from four universities with industry and union partners representing over one million working Australian men.
Workplace partners include the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council, NSW Police, Comcare, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Dairy Australia and the RUOK Foundation.