Priority 4: Promoting wellbeing and resilience

Good mental health and wellbeing are not only about happiness. They are the foundation stones for positive life choices, strong relationships, supportive communities and the capacity to cope in adversity. A growing body of research evidence shows wellbeing and resilience are not a matter of chance, but can be directly influenced by individual and community-wide strategies.

This is a 2015-18 priority because

  • We must not waste any opportunity to help people, families and communities build their own their capacity to live well. If we act on what we know we can, over time, reduce the number of people who develop mental illness and need extra support and take the pressure off our strained mental health services.
  • Developing mental wellbeing is a sound investment. It allows people to contribute socially and economically to their full potential.

2015-2017 Projects

Physical Health and Mental Wellbeing: Evidence Guide

The Commission engaged the School of Psychiatry at the University of NSW and the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District’s Keeping the Body in Mind team to produce a Physical Health and Mental Wellbeing evidence guide. The resource provides a summary of the evidence regarding what measures need to be taken to improve the physical health of people living with severe mental illness, including outlining what we can most confidently say about the links between physical health and mental illness and its treatments, and what we can do better. It draws on the most robust research and includes examples of successful approaches from NSW, Australia and overseas. 

Living Well Action 8.5

Wellbeing Collaborative

The Commission was instrumental in the launch in early 2015 of the Collaborative, a group of Government and community-managed organisations which supports wellbeing initiatives, shares knowledge about wellbeing and promotes innovative wellbeing activities. It aims to embed consideration of mental health and wellbeing across the design of programs and policies, and in workplaces and the community more generally. The Commission will extend this work by continuing liaison with early adopters of wellbeing approaches, and by supporting the dissemination of the Mental Wellbeing Impact Assessment tools throughout NSW. In 2015-16 the Wellbeing Collaborative identified a number of priority projects including development of a Wellbeing Language and Definitions Guide, A Case for Change, and Principles for Action that are due for release in mid-2017.

Living Well Actions 3.1.1 and 3.1.3

Workplace wellbeing strategic leadership and engagement

Workplaces are important settings for the promotion of good mental health, prevention of mental health problems, and for supporting employees experiencing mental illness. The Commission has joined with partners including icare, Safework NSW, WayAhead and beyondblue to collaboratively promote mentally healthy workplaces.  In addition to providing ongoing advocacy and advice, the Commission has led specific projects including the development of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy for First Responders in NSW. The evidence-based Strategy emphasises the importance of prevention and early intervention for emergency service workers, who are regularly exposed to different types of trauma. To complement the written document, the Commission joined forces with iCare to produce a series of educational and promotional videos about the importance of mental wellbeing among first responders and how it can be facilitated.

Other projects in this space include the Commission’s May 2016 community event, Living Well@Work, in which four expert panellists provided advice to audience members on how to manage mental illness in the workplace. Videos of the event are available online.

Living Well Actions 3.1.2 and 3.5

Establishment of Community Wellbeing Collaboratives

In 2017 the Commission will support rural and remote communities to establish “community wellbeing collaboratives” – whole-of-community groups with demonstrated capacity and willingness to conduct wellbeing and/or suicide prevention activities for the broad community, or sections of the community in rural or remote NSW, such as isolated farmers, high school students, Aboriginal communities, and LGBTI communities. An essential element of any collaborative is local Council involvement.

Examples of community wellbeing collaboratives that have successfully brought together key stakeholders to work collaboratively already exist in:

  • Orange (Act-Belong-Commit Steering Group, chaired by the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health)
  • Muswellbrook (a Collective Impact approach in Muswellbrook to demonstrate its utility in a community facing structural economic change and extend the evidence base and learning for the approach)
  • Clarence Valley (Our Healthy Clarence multiagency collaboration, chaired by the North Coast PHN)

Living Well Actions 2.1 and 3.1

Last updated: 19 June 2017

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