Spotlight on the APS Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Unit
Mental health and suicide prevention are key priorities for the Australian Public Service (APS).
Following an extensive APS review of workplace mental health and wellbeing, the APS Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Unit (the Unit) was established.
What drives the multidisciplinary team of psychologists, human resources specialists and generalist APS staff? Their passion to work collaboratively with agencies and stakeholders across the APS to promote whole-of-service development of APS workforce literacy, capability and expertise in mental health and suicide prevention.
Day-to-day the Unit is delivering impactful work, providing agencies with specialised and personalised support to align their practices to the APS Mental Health Capability Framework and to develop their maturity of practice in relation to mental health, wellbeing and suicide prevention.
Reflecting on their recent achievements, in February 2022, the Unit coordinated an event for the APS HR Professional Stream. Over 500 APS HR professionals from 81 agencies registered to attend The Future of Work - How Critical is Mental Health and Wellbeing? Chaired by a panel of HR experts from across the service, the online webinar explored a range of topics connected to delivering a future-ready APS that has a firm investment in the mental health and wellbeing of its workforce.
In a first for the APS, the Unit has recently launched Compassionate Foundations, a six-module suicide prevention eLearning suite that provides every member of our APS with the foundational skills to recognise and respond to someone in distress and potentially save a life.
Compassionate Foundations teaches suicide prevention skills framed around relationships, rather than risk assessment and learning objectives support positive human-to-human interactions that promote connection and understanding. The Unit is working closely with agencies across the APS to support the roll out of the suite to their workforces.
Through the development and delivery of a range of targeted, evidence-informed resources, the Unit is empowering agencies to develop their mental health capability and support their workforce. These resources can be tailored by agencies to suit their operating context.
The Unit’s quarterly digital newsletter, APS eXchange, provides learning opportunities for APS staff to build their mental health literacy, shares stories of success from across the APS, and is shining a spotlight on innovative and better practice.
Our team: Rachael McMahon, Connie Galati, Anne Mayberry, Sam Junor, Susannah Zuckerman, Maddie Morton, Jasmin Robertson.