Projects

Understanding why some emergency workers require long term sick leave

Understanding why some emergency workers require long term sick leave

There is considerable individual differences in rates of sickness absence, and part of the reason is suspected to be non-health factors, such as the individuals's attitudes to work and employment.  We are using a new scale, developed in collaboration with King's College London, to test how these factors impact the psychological resilience of firefighters.

Investigating the potential of on line psychological treatments

Investigating the potential of on line psychological treatments

Together with colleagues from the Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression (CRUfAD) we reanalysed data to test if iCBT for depressive and anxiety disorders generated reductions in absenteeism amongst the employed.

Creating and testing new types of "work-focused" treatments

Creating and testing new types of "work-focused" treatments

Standard symptomatic treatments for common mental disorders do not necessarily lead to improved occupational outcomes. Together with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health we have developed and are testing a new type of cognitive behavioural therapy, which includes a specific focus on work and occupational functioning.

The Resilience@Work (RAW) Mindfulness Program

The Resilience@Work (RAW) Mindfulness Program

The Resilience at Work (RAW) Mindfulness Program is a new online mental health initiative aimed at developing psychological resilience amongst emergency workers.

The link between PTSD and physical symptoms in emergency workers

The link between PTSD and physical symptoms in emergency workers

Mental disorders, such as PTSD, are associated with increased rates of physical health problems. We are utilsing data collected on NSW firefighters to compare the rates of somatic symptoms in firefighters with and without PTSD, and to examine if these relationship change as emergency workers get older.

Men@Work Program

Men@Work Program

The workplace is the a prime location for mental health prevention and interventions, particularly for men. The Men@Work Program aims to improve the mental health of Australian men in the workplace through the development of a new e-health technologies.

New electronic screening of police officers

New electronic screening of police officers

Police officers are at great risk of developing mental illnesses due to the nature of their work. We are working with the NSW Police Force to develop a mental health screening tool.

Mental health of current and retired firefighters

Mental health of current and retired firefighters

Firefighters are faced with potentially traumatic incidents on a regular basis, however the role of multiple traumas on mental health sequelae other than PTSD is unclear. We have examined the prevalence of a range of mental health problems amongst both current and retired firefighters in New South Wales.

PTSD treatment guidelines for emergency workers

PTSD treatment guidelines for emergency workers

We are currently working together with Employers Mutual to bring together a group of experts to develop clear, evidence-based guidelines on how to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) amongst emergency workers. This will be completed by mid-2014. 

Are we becoming more mentally ill?

Are we becoming more mentally ill?

Mental illness has now become the leading cause of sickness absence and incapacity benefit in most developed countries.....but does this mean the working population has become more mentally unwell?

Understanding resilience amongst emergency workers

Understanding resilience amongst emergency workers

Many emergency wrokers who are exposed to numerous traumatic or stressful situations continue functioning at a high level. Our research team is working together with NSW Police and Fire and Rescue NSW to examine what factors predict whether an emergnecy worker will be resilient or not.

Educating health professionals about workplace mental health

Educating health professionals about workplace mental health

It is vitally important that both doctors and nurses understand the links between work and mental health.   We are testing a number of new initiatives which we hope will give health professionals the knowledge and skills to enable them to protect the careers and jobs of those who suffer from mental illness.  

Improving occupational outcomes of those with severe mental illness

Improving occupational outcomes of those with severe mental illness

Most people with severe mental illness want to work, however current data shows that the majority of them are unable to find meaningful work.  Our team has undertaken a number of projects examining how different models of supported employment can help improve the occupational outcomes for this group. 

The mental health benefits of exercise

The mental health benefits of exercise

The physical health benefits of exercise are well established, but we have recently found evidence that physical activity may provide some protection against the development of common mental health problems such as depression or anxiety.  

Preventing mental illness in emergency workers

Preventing mental illness in emergency workers

There is increasing interest in the idea that some mental disorders may be preventable.  We have recently completed two systematic reviews on the prevention of mental illness in the general working population and emergency workers.

Systematic review of common mental disorders at work

Systematic review of common mental disorders at work

Working in collaboration with The Black Dog Institute and Beyondblue, we have recently completed a detailed systematic meta-review examing the links between work and common mental disorders.

New mental health training for Fire & Rescue NSW managers

New mental health training for Fire & Rescue NSW managers

The UNSW Workplace Mental Health Team together with the Black Dog Institute and Fire and Rescue NSW have conducted a study investigating the effectiveness of a new program of mental health training for managers. 

 

How does 'work stress' lead to sickness absence?

How does 'work stress' lead to sickness absence?

People often complain about "work stress" or "job strain", but is unclear how useful these concepts are and how they are linked to illness and sickness absence.  Our research team recently examined data from over 29,000 individuals to examine whether job strain is associated with an increased risk of sickness absence and whether this association can be explained fully by mental or physical illness. 

Creating mentally healthy workplaces

Creating mentally healthy workplaces

UNSW is one of the founding members of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance.  The Alliance is a landmark partnership between business, the mental health sector, government and research organisations which aims to bring together the best evidence and key stakeholders to create mentally healthy workplaces.

Biological and occupational consequences of work stress

Biological and occupational consequences of work stress

"Work stress" is something which is spoken about a great deal, but is often loosely defined and poorly studied.  We are conducting a series of research studies following over 9,000 individuals to examine the impact different types of work stress has on mental health and well-being.