Mental illnesses can be hard to talk about, especially in the workplace. If we want to improve workplace mental health, we need to start by developing our ability to engage with this issue. A research team has worked on this issue, to refine a series of guidelines on the topic.

When evaluating a workplace's ability to understand andengage with mental health, researchers use the term "mental health literacy."

This term measures the knowledge and beliefs that groups orindividuals hold on the topic of mental health, as well as their ability torecognise, manage and prevent mental illnesses.

Therefore, to describe a workplace as having a "high level of mental health literacy," is to say that that its management and staff understand mental health issues, know to identify and discuss them, and knowhow to access help when it is required.

A research team led by Professor Tony LaMontagne of the Deakin University has been investigating ways to raise mental health literacy rates in Victorian workplaces.

Before ISCRR became involved, this team produced a set of guidelines for Victorian workplaces to help employers create a positive work environment, develop a mental health strategy and policy, and learn how to provide mental health education to their employees.

This team then worked with ISCRR to take the guidelines into their next stage of review, towards implementation.

This work has been conducted in collaboration with WorkSafe and the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation as part of a research partnership with the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Status

As part of the review, these guidelines were assessed by workers from the Victorian veterinary sector. The veterinary workers analysed the guidelines in the context of their everyday work experience, and identified several areas requiring further development and research.

This discussion resulted in a research report that outlines the proposed next steps for the guidelines project. The research team also produced a journal article summarising further insights into their guideline production process, and on the advantages of an integrated approach.

More recently, these researches produced journal articles on the following topics: