Mental health at work research

Learn more about the NSW benchmarking tool as well as the research and data that has helped us develop the NSW Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy 2022.

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Measuring mental health at work

In 2017 we started measuring how mentally healthy NSW businesses were. Since then, as a state we have made positive progress across several industries but there is still more work to be done.   

We worked with academics and experts to develop the first NSW mentally healthy workplaces benchmarking tool to measure the capability of workplaces to create a mentally healthy workplace.

We are a more mentally healthy NSW 

In 2017 we surveyed 2,000 NSW employers. This created a baseline for the NSW mentally healthy workplaces strategy.

We found that 67,542 NSW businesses were taking effective action to create a mentally healthy workplace and set our target to reach 90,000.

In 2020 we ran the benchmarking survey again to measure workplaces’ progress on mental health.

We surveyed 4,000 employers and 8,000 workers and found that the number of businesses taking effective action on mental health had increased by 12.5% to 75,958.

Workplaces that most need to build skills

Benchmarking data shows that, since 2017, more medium-sized businesses are taking action to create a mentally healthy workplace. However, little change has been seen in small business - which means there is more work to do in this area.

12.5 percent increase in NSW workplaces taking effective action on mental health
75,958 NSW businesses taking effective action to create mentally healthy workplaces

Research papers

NSW benchmarking 

The NSW benchmarking tool has been used to survey and benchmark the state in 2017 and 2020.

Read the current report and snapshot:

MHW benchmarking tool report

Benchmarking tool report front cover

Download (PDF 1.56MB)

MHW benchmarking tool snapshot

MHW benchmarking tool snapshot front cover

Download (PDF 66.02KB)

Strategy evaluation 

Independent reviews have evaluated the strategy's success at its mid-point and will again at the end date.

Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy mid-point evaluation

Front cover of the mentally healthy workplaces strategy mid-point evaluation report

Download (PDF 1.82MB)

A framework to evaluate the Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy

Image of the front cover of the MHW strategy evaluation framework

Download (PDF 1.83MB)

A review of the Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy

Image of the front cover for the Mental health at work review document

Download (PDF 1.26MB)

Literature and evidence reviews 

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.

The psychosocial risks and interventions for mental ill-health in the workplace report (PDF 2.28MB) outlines what was done.

Previous literature and evidence reviews

Review of evidence of psychosocial risks for mental health 2017 (PDF 2.21MB)

Review of interventions to reduce mental ill-health in the workplace 2017 (PDF 2.27MB)

Key issues from review of risks for workplace mental ill-health 2017 (PDF 2.11MB)

Return on investment study

A 2017 report that uses real-world data to look at the cost of workplace mental health interventions to show the potential impacts to business bottom line.

Mentally healthy workplaces return on investment study 2017 (PDF 1.4MB)

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