The Department of Education and Training is committed to implementing the Whole of Victorian Government (WOVG) Mental Health and Wellbeing (MHW) Charter. The Minister for Finance, the Hon. Robin Scott, and the Department's Secretary, Gill Callister, endorsed the Charter in October 2016.
The Charter has been developed to actively demonstrate the Victorian government's commitment to having an engaged workforce that is physically and mentally safe and healthy. The Department's initiatives to promote positive mental health under the Charter are also closely aligned with our Investing in Our People Strategy, our Seven VPS Values and Victoria's 10 Year Mental Health Plan (2015-2025).
The Charter outlines the objectives and actions that underpin the commitment from Victorian public sector leaders to drive and support mental health and wellbeing in their workplaces.
To support the implementation of the Charter the Victorian Public Sector Leadership Group has endorsed the following key approaches to assist employees:
- Senior executives identified as mental health and wellbeing Champions to show proactive commitment and help lead the implementation of the Charter and to support action across its three key pillars—promoting positive workplace mental health, protecting mental health and wellbeing, and addressing mental health injuries and illnesses when they occur to support appropriate recovery and effective return to work(RTW) rehabilitation which is robust and sustainable. Tailored strategies to improve early intervention will also be a focus of this MHW initiative.
- Minimum data set (MDS): performance indicators relating to mental health and wellbeing (related incidents, training/instruction, induction, and employee survey results) to be used for each department's baseline, measuring improvement, and benchmarking across similar organisations to assist with continuous improvement on learning and mental health and wellbeing outcomes
- Education and training framework: outlines minimum education and training requirements (principles and an implementation plan) for the public service for leadership, line managers, Employee Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) and workers, e.g. Mental health literacy, leadership and people management skill development, identification of risks to mental health and wellbeing and focusing on positive workplace behaviours
- Leading the Way: a document that supports the VPS to lead the way in improving OHS management as well as mental health and wellbeing by adhering to a framework which covers the areas of senior leadership commitment, safety culture, OHS management systems (OHSMSs), and accountability. Completion of related stakeholder and employee OHS practitioner self-assessment surveys allow for the identification of gaps and areas of immaturity associated with current organisational approaches to supporting OHS and mental health and wellbeing.
- Occupational violence (OV): opportunities for interdepartmental collaboration have been identified and prioritised, including OV training and education principles, policies, procedures and guidelines e.g.. Environment Build OV considerations, employee surveys etc. along with improved reporting of OV incidents and key performance indicators.
Mental health and wellbeing resources
A safe workplace that promotes MHW along with respect and inclusion for all is a key ingredient for staff not only wanting to come to work, but to be motivated and able to give their best. It provides a supportive psychological environment, and ensures our staff are able to deal with the day to day challenges with increased resilience, optimism and flexibility.
Resources for managers and staff
The Department is committed to the positive MHW of our employees, and currently offer a range of mental health and wellbeing supports and resources. These include but are not limited to the provision of regular MHW and resilience information sessions and RU OK? theme morning teas, as well as access to:
Why MHW matters
MHW is important for all of the Department's employees because the workplace has a significant influence on people's MHW and underpins the drive towards greater productivity, reduced absenteeism, increased social inclusion, and ensuring we meet stakeholders (including the community's) expectations in relation to the work we undertake on their behalf and the students we educate.
Mental health and wellbeing matters to everyone and is everyone's business; we all need to be involved in managing the workplace risk associated with a poor level of physical and mental health and wellbeing. In 2017-18, one in five (20.1%) Australians reported having experienced a mental health or behavioural condition, an increase from 17.5% in 2014-15. Mental health issues can affect employees at any time over the course of their working life and it is estimated that most managers will supervise someone with a mental health problem at some point.
The workplace provides the ideal setting to promote MHW. By utilising the Charter's proposed aims of promoting and protecting positive MHW in the workplace, all employees are supported to flourish at work, whether they are experiencing mental health issues or not. Encouraging and supporting MHW is good for both the employee and the organisation.
R U OK? Wellbeing conversations to connect with your team
R U OK? Day is about celebrating the regular wellbeing conversations that we have with our colleagues to check in on how they are doing - both in and outside of work. R U OK? Day reminds us all to connect with our colleagues regularly and start conversations that can make a real difference to them. It's a way for us to reach out and demonstrate that we genuinely care.
However the spirit of R U OK? Day goes beyond the day itself. It's about embracing these conversations as a part of our culture and how we work collectively to support each other. Connecting with others in a meaningful way helps support our wellbeing, improve our relationships and build a sense of belonging and purpose.
The R U OK? Day resource provides some practical tools and strategies for us to have these wellbeing conversations every day. We encourage everyone across the Department to have these wellbeing conversations with their colleagues. These conversations are a great way for all of us to build on the Whole of Victorian Government Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter and play an active role in creating positive wellbeing experiences within our teams.
Download the R U OK? Day wellbeing activities toolkit from the resources below to get some ideas on how you could build in these wellbeing conversations within your team.
- Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter Background and Statistics (PDF) (WORD)
- Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter Coaching Kit for Managers (PDF) (WORD)
- Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter Factsheet (PDF) (WORD)
- Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter and Toolkit (PDF) (WORD)
- Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter Action Plan (PDF) (WORD)
- Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter Poster (PDF)
- Whole of Government Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter Overview (POWERPOINT)
- R U OK? - how to ask and support colleagues (POWERPOINT)
- R U OK? Day Wellbeing Activities Toolkit (PDF) (WORD)
Employee Safety and Wellbeing Unit email: firstname.lastname@example.org