The workplace mental health benchmark tool is a self-audit assessment that can be supplemented by an optional employee check-in survey to help determine the maturity of an organisation's approach to employee mental health.

It was developed through a Delphi consultation method with 40 leading experts in the field of workplace mental health from six countries. Consensus was sought from the expert panel on the framework, the definitions of key systems/interventions, and the question set to assess maturity.

What is workplace mental health maturity?

Maturity models are a useful diagnostic tool to help determine problem areas and areas for improvement. Maturity refers to how effective a system or intervention is likely to be at having the desired impact on outcomes.

In relation to workplace mental health systems and interventions, low maturity is often characterised by being ad hoc, reactive, non-strategic and focused on awareness raising as opposed to impact creation. High maturity is characterised by high levels of leadership support, integration into other business systems and processes, data informed decisions and continuous improvement.

What is the overarching model for the workplace mental health benchmark tool?

The workplace mental health benchmark tool is based on the integrated model (LaMontagne et al, 2014). This model suggests for an employer to take a holistic approach to employee mental health, they must consider three levels of intervention (pillars): prevent harm, promote flourishing and respond to mental ill-health.

Prevent harm refers to systems/interventions that aid in identifying, understanding, and responding to psychological health risks to reduce likelihood of distress/psychological harm.

Promote flourishing refers to systems/interventions that help workers to optimise their mental wellbeing.

Respond to ill-health refers to systems/interventions that are focused primarily on responding to distressed/psychologically harmed workers (regardless of cause).

What systems and interventions are included?

10 mental health systems/interventions that are broadly used for worker mental health were identified and are included for assessment in the benchmark tool. These are often used under a certain pillar, but many can be applied to multiple pillars depending on how it is applied within the context. 10 questions for each system/intervention were crafted to help determine the level of maturity of these systems and interventions.

The 10 systems/interventions that are included in the audit and their definitions are:

Prevent Harm

Psychological health & safety education
Building awareness of work-related factors that influence worker mental health and ensuring both workers and managers are aware of their responsibilities for managing psychosocial risks in the workplace.

Psychosocial risk management
The ongoing process of understanding the likelihood and consequence of harm associated with worker exposure to psychosocial hazards and risk reduction through elimination or control of hazards.

Management Systems
Organisational systems, structures and responsibilities are established to support and maintain the psychosocial risk management process.

Promote Flourishing

Mental wellbeing education & tools
Provision of education and evidence-based self-help tools to assist workers respond to stressors effectively and optimise their mental health.

Positive work design
Optimising worker wellbeing through considered role design, effective and efficient systems, and good management practices.

Strengths based interventions
Identification and use of strengths at work for optimal person-job fit, growth and development, and team functioning.

Respond To Ill-Health

Mental ill-health education & help-seeking
Education on mental ill-health and symptoms, when/how to get support and directing colleagues to assistance.

Peer mental health network
A network of trained workers who can be confidentially accessed by their colleagues to discuss mental wellbeing concerns.

Professional mental health assistance
Support delivered by health professionals for workers with mental wellbeing concerns.

Injury management & return to work
Processes to identify, assess, respond to, support and accommodate workers with disclosed psychological ill-health or injury, or following a prolonged absence from work.