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 R U 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.
National Mental Health Month October 2020
National Mental Health Month is an initiative of the Mental Health Foundation of Australia (MHFA), aiming to raise awareness and advocate for Australian mental health across October. This year has been like no other, and we have all been impacted in different ways. Safety and wellbeing, particularly the mental health of staff and students, is a Department strategic priority for Term 4.
Recent survey data has shown a negative shift in our health and wellbeing, with key findings including that people are finding it difficult to separate work and home life, and checking in with each other is becoming increasingly difficult (Continuing to Work Remotely Survey, Aug 2020).
Through a range of initiatives and resources, the Department is committed to embedding a strong safety and wellbeing culture across all workplaces and schools and supporting our colleagues not just through this month, or through this difficult time, but throughout the year, every year.
Now is a good time to prioritise your own mental health – set yourself a wellbeing goal or actively reach out to the supports available that you may never have accessed. It's important to remember that you don't have to be in crisis to seek support. The aim of intentional wellbeing is to take a proactive and preventative approach to ensuing that you are armed with a range of coping strategies and supports that act as your own personal life raft during times of crisis. Much like we use exercise to protect our physical health, seeking out wellbeing opportunities can promote and protect mental health resilience wellness.
This year, the theme of National Mental Health Month is 'Mental Health Matters'.
There are a range of free events happening across the month to raise awareness. This page includes links to both Department and non-Department events and resources which you may find useful in supporting yourself, colleagues, your family and other people around you.
Events and webinars
Mental Health Foundation Australia (MHFA) events
MHFA are running a series of virtual events, conferences and forums across the month. View the calendar of events and register here.
Topics include: youth mental health forum, refugees mental health conference, youth suicide and mental health forum, mental health during COVID-19 and more. Participate in mental wellness workshops throughout the month, the virtual national walk for mental health or attend national symposiums on teacher's mental health or multicultural communities' mental health and wellbeing. There will also be mental wellness workshops throughout the month.
World Mental Health Day – intersectional stories.
Thursday 8 October 12 -1.30pm.
The Victorian Public Sector (VPS) African-Australian Network, VPS Enablers, VPS Pride, VPS Women of Colour, and Department of Education and Training Koorie Staff Networks invite you to join them for the virtual World Mental Health Day event.
Hosted by Chief Mental Health Nurse Anna Love, hear stories from people throughout the VPS about their experiences with mental health, highlighting the intersectionality that exists in our world; mental health does not discriminate.
World Mental Health Day focuses on raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health. The day provides an opportunity for everyone to talk about their contribution to mental health and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.
The event will feature a panel of exceptional storytellers, from across the Victorian Public Sector, who will be discussing their personal journey through their experiences with mental health. They will be sharing their own individual challenges, successes, highs and lows. Speakers include:
Duncan Chew (he/him) - President, VPS Enablers Network
Cordelia Attenborough (they/them) - Communications and Engagement, Victorian Public Sector Commission
Alice Young (she/her) - Koorie Engagement, Department of Education and Training
Chuol G. Puot (he/him) - Community Engagement, Department of Justice and Community Safety
Holly Tan (she/her) - Senior Policy Advisor, Commission for Gender Equality
To find out more and register for the event please visit the event page.
The Department is continuing to offer free webinars as part of the staying safe and well and leading for wellbeing series. The sessions provide practical mental health and wellbeing tips and strategies for use through COVID-19 and beyond. Register for these sessions throughout October.
Tuesday 13 October 4-5pm: Safeguarding against burnout
Wednesday 14 October 4-5pm: For leaders, Creating and maintaining a psychologically safe work team during challenging times
Thursday 15 October 4-5pm: Managing anxiety through coronavirus (COVID-19)
Tuesday 20 October 4-5pm: Switching on your growth mindset
Wednesday 21 October 4-5pm: Resilience in times of uncertainty
Thursday 29 October 12-1pm: Safeguarding against burnout
Black Dog Institute
One Foot Forward: Walk for Mental Health – a walk to support the one in five people in Australia who experience symptoms of mental ill health each year, showing that they aren't alone.
WorkSafe – Health and Safety Month
October is also Health and Safety month and WorkSafe are running a series of webinars covering topics including looking after injured workers during COVID-19, the importance of leadership in workplace mental health during COVID-19 and more.
Make a Promise for World Mental Health Day 2020
Make a promise. Prioritising your mental health and wellbeing is more important than ever. Making a mental health promise is a great way to remind yourself to look after your wellbeing. People managers may wish to encourage their team members to make their own promises via this link and can share inspiration from others on the Promise Wall.
Resources and Services
COVID-19 Employee health, safety and wellbeing supports page
Employee health, safety and wellbeing supports page
Social connections and mental health article
Employee Assistance Program (EAP), is a personalised, confidential counselling service for all Department staff, including their immediate family (aged 18 years and over). This service is available 24/7 and specialised counsellors are available for anyone wanting support with aboriginal, LGBTIQ or family violence matters. Call 1300 361 008 or use that chat function on the LifeWorks Australia website to book.
Manager Assist is a coaching service for principals, school leaders and managers, providing advice and support on a range of issues including approaching a difficult conversation with employees and managing the impact of mental health issues within the workplace. Call 1300 361 008 to book.
There is a range of diversity and inclusion training available to build your knowledge and awareness of difference and how to be inclusive
DET LGBTIQ Awareness and Ally training is available on LearnEd. These learning modules promote LGBTIQ workplace inclusion, provide practical tools to ensure everyone in the workplace feels welcomed, valued and respected and provide you with an understanding of what it means to be an ally.
DET Disability Awareness training, available on LearnEd. This session aims to provide you with an understanding of accessibility and inclusion in the workplace.
For information about requesting workplace adjustments or to understand more about the ways that the Department support all staff including the Diversity and inclusion work, contact email@example.com
For further information about workforce diversity and inclusion, and the work to promote equal opportunities and reduce discrimination visit Workforce Diversity and Inclusion or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For peer support:
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.
Employee Health, Safety and Wellbeing Division email: email@example.com