Digital mental health tools for Australian workplaces

The Black Dog Institute and its collaborators have developed three new products for the prevention of depression in the workplace:

1. HeadGear: a new smartphone app that provides integrated mental health screening, monitoring, and tailored mental health promotion activities for individual employees.

2. HeadCoach: a new online mental health training program that teaches managers how to create mentally healthy work teams and how to better manage employees with early signs of mental health problems.

3. A new depression risk algorithm that reliably identifies workers who are at risk of future mental health problems.

These products were informed by systematic research and consultation with employers and employees. HeadGear and HeadCoach have both been shown to be effective in randomised controlled trials in male-dominated workplaces. HeadGear appears to be particularly effective when targeted to those who can be identified as being at high risk by the algorithm described above.

The Prevention Hub will extend these products in a number of key ways. Firstly, each product will be modified so that they can be used in any workplace, regardless of the gender balance or industry group. Secondly, the products will be adapted so they can be tailored to specific groups, particularly those identified as being at high risk. Finally, they will be developed so they can be rolled out and evaluated at scale.

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Helen Christensen

Helen Christensen, BA (Hons) (Syd), MPsych, PhD (UNSW), FASSA, is Executive Director of the Black Dog Institute and a Professor of Mental Health at the University of New South Wales, a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Senior Principal Research Fellow, a member of the Academy of Social Sciences, Australia, the President of the Australasian Society for Psychiatric Research, and the immediate past President of the International Society for Research in Internet Interventions. She is also the Chief Investigator for the NHMRC Clinical Research Centre for Excellence in Suicide Prevention.

She is the author of over 300 refereed journal articles, seven consumer books and three open access websites.

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Samuel Harvey

Associate Professor Harvey’s main research focus is the relationship between work and mental health. His research in this area considers the role work and workplace trauma may have in precipitating mental illness, the occupational outcomes of those already suffering from mental disorders, predictors of sickness absence and workplace based interventions for both the treatment and prevention of mental disorders.

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