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“Psychological Wellbeing: Applying a risk management approach and developing better prevention strategies”

Posted by Jason Aitkens on Tuesday, September 01, 2015.

Dr Chris Stevens gives keynote addresses for the international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills’ Safety Leadership Series events in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth.

With widespread recognition of the need to address workplace mental health there has been a proliferation of approaches, with quite variable effectiveness, adopted across corporate Australia. Not surprisingly, therefore, there were huge turnouts to hear Dr Chris Stevens put all this in perspective and give some practical, evidence-based guidelines.

The thrust of his talk was that organisations need to take a risk-management approach to actively promote workplace psychological health. Dr Stevens contrasted this with the current workplace emphasis on reactive community and not-for-profit based programs that are symptom and mental ill health oriented and which mostly take a tertiary, treatment and psychological injury approach.

Dr Stevens put the case very strongly that what is required is a commitment and capability to develop real early intervention capabilities, as well as adopting workplaces systems and processes that proactively address the psychosocial factors that influence psychological wellbeing in the workplace – not just ‘ticking the box’ with an EAP provision and a RUOK day. He made it clear that, the latter, while important, are insufficient as they tend to address symptoms not causes, and do not address psychosocial factors, culture, systems and practices that strongly influence wellbeing at work.

As reported in the Safety At Work blog, Dr Stevens addressed the need for organisations to develop a holistic approach when addressing psychosocial workplace hazards, and was critical of the common tokenistic approaches, which deliver little or no lasting benefit. (1) He also gave practical guidelines for actions and indications of what does work to minimise psychological risk, using case examples, including an emphasis on Safety and HR professionals working more closely together to address hazards that impact on psychological wellbeing.

In reality, a much more work-specific, strategic and evidence-based workplace approach is required – with an emphasis on early intervention and prevention and addressing the workplace systems and environment that influences psychological wellbeing.

If you would like guidance for your organisation in developing a more systematic approach to workplace mental health, get in touch with CommuniCorp on or 1300 855 140.

(1) SafetyAtWorkBlog:

Where can You hear from CommuniCorp experts?

CommuniCorp have been invited to join the program of many Australian conferences being hosted over the next few months. This is your chance to meet the team and learn from our experts on best practice in workplace mental health initiatives, developed both here in Australia and around the world. See a list of events on our calendar here.

If you plan on attending any of these upcoming events please let us know, we would be happy to arrange a one-on-one discussion to review your workplace mental health strategy. Email us at

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