26 September 2023

APS mental health trial succeeds

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A two-year national mental health initiative adopted by Australian Public Service (APS) Agencies has found success, with Comcare recording a 72 per cent recovery rate among the APS workers.

Releasing the final evaluation of its two-year NewAccess workplaces extended trial, Comcare said the NewAccess mental health coaching service focused on prevention and early intervention of mild to moderate anxiety and/or depression suffered by participant workers.

“Following the success of our 2018-19 NewAccess pilot trial, (we) rolled out the program to 16 Australian Public Service Agencies in 2020, which made the program available to up to 120,000 workers,” Comcare said.

“PricewaterhouseCoopers’ final evaluation of the program found a 72 per cent recovery rate was achieved among participants,” it said.

“It also found 89 per cent of workers were satisfied or very satisfied with the program, and 89 per cent said NewAccess exceeded or met their expectations.”

Comcare said the final evaluation highlighted the effectiveness of NewAccess workplaces in supporting the needs of employees, particularly as an alternative and/or complementary option to other mental health and wellbeing offerings such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).

It said the evaluation also found that the extended trial contributed to improving APS workers’ engagement in the workplace, enhanced job satisfaction, and promoted mental health prevention and/or early intervention.

NewAccess workplaces has a strong Return on Investment for employers, with an expected return of $1.60 in productivity benefits from every dollar invested,” Comcare said.

It said NewAccess was available to workers at participating Agencies until 16 September, when the extended trial officially concludes.

The four-page Final Evaluation can be accessed at this PS News link.

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