Discover how mentally healthy workplaces in NSW are, and the changes achieved as part of the 2022 NSW Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy.
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Measuring mental health at work
In 2017 we started measuring how mentally healthy NSW businesses were to set a benchmark for our state. We did this by working with academics and experts to develop the NSW mentally healthy workplaces benchmarking tool.
This tool measures the attributes of a mentally healthy workplace across five different levels of maturity and allows workers and leaders to identify which level they sit at. The tool can also be used to track progress over time and chart how businesses compare against others across the state.
In 2020 and 2022, we used the tool to survey businesses again. The results show, as a state, we have made positive progress across several indicators, but there is still more work to be done.
More workplaces are mentally healthy
In 2017 there were 67,542 NSW businesses taking effective action to create a mentally healthy workplace.
In 2022, this increased to 92,933, exceeding our target of 90,000.
This represents a 37.6% increase in the number of businesses taking effective action on mental health between 2017 and 2022. That's over a quarter of businesses in NSW now proactively preventing risks to mental health in the workplace.
Improvements in focus areas
Between 2017 and 2022, regional and small businesses became mentally healthier.
Our four targeted industry sectors also improved:
transport, postal and warehousing
information media and telecommunications
professional, scientific and technical services.
Overall, the areas where NSW employers made the biggest improvements were:
evaluating and improving the quality of the support services they offer
linking support services to their work health and safety KPIs, and
monitoring whether employees are using work health and safety support services.
How we've supported NSW business
Under the Strategy the 2022, NSW Government raised awareness of mental health at work and helped employers and employees make lasting change.
More detail is available in the independent evaluation of our 2022 Strategy.
While we've made important gains, more than 70% of NSW businesses are yet to take effective action on mental health. Only a third of workers who have been mentally unwell at work feel adequately supported by their employer.
Our next mentally healthy workplaces strategy will detail how we plan to change this. The strategy will be released in 2023 and will be informed by independent reviews, evaluation, benchmarking data, new evidence and stakeholder consultation.
The NSW benchmarking tool has been used to survey and benchmark the state in 2017, 2020 and 2022.
In 2020 SafeWork NSW commissioned the University of Sydney to update its 2017 literature review of research to understand the key risks and interventions of workplace mental new health, with new evidence.