S31: Mental Health Workforce & Workplace

Go back to Resource Library
By October 5, 2023 No Comments

Authors: Vivien Tait, Yumi Stamet, Josh Manzione, Karina Kouck, Dimitar Taseski, Tricia Hooi, Darren Hobourn, Naomi Chapman & Peter Hall

Year: 2023

Event: 2023 The MHS conference - Adelaide

Subject: Mental Health Workforce & Workplace

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Presentation 1: Recovery 2gether: a purpose-driven approach to bringing humanity back into a mental health service’s workplace.
Authors: Vivien Tait, Yumi Stamet & Josh Manzione
In 2019, One Door Mental Health (ODMH) and Purpose at Work created a new way of working called Recovery 2gether; a purpose-driven approach that shares leadership and authority, through mutual trust, and puts human beings at the centre – not systems, structures, and policies. Recovery 2gether has changed how we work in ODMH, but has not changed what work we do.
With the support of a Coach, local teams can self-organise, within a clearly defined framework of delegations. Our manager-led teams use Recovery 2gether practices.
Over 80% of ODMH staff identify as having a lived experience of mental health challenges and/or as being a carer. Recovery 2gether aligns seamlessly with the mental health and wellbeing needs of our workforce and the people we support. “One Door trusts me to work without unnecessary supervision. By working in a way that meets our consumer needs, and as a team that can make local decisions, consumers have reported on better outcomes over-time" (Employee with lived experience, self-organising team, 2023)
In February 2023, we launched our Recovery 2gether Institute, allowing us to support others to explore different ways of working. We know that self-organising teams will be a step too far for most, but many of our team practices can be used within traditional structures.
Learning Objective
(1) What a purpose-driven approach means, and how it is applied in day-to-day operations.
(2) Any organisation can use purpose-driven practices to help their teams tap into their shared humanity, to create a supportive team environment, and deliver person-centred services.
Hamel, G., & Zanini, M. (2020). Humanocracy: creating organizations as amazing as the people inside them. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press
Walker, L., Perkins, R., and Repper, J. (2014), Creating a recovery focused workforce: supporting staff wellbeing and valuing the expertise of lived experience, Mental Health and Social Inclusion, Vol. 18 No 3, pp 133-141. https://doi.org/10.1108/MHSI-07-2014-0022

Presentation 2: Redefining Employment: A Mental Health Recovery Perspective.
Authors: Karina Kouck, Dimitar Taseski, Tricia Hooi & Darren Hobourn
The opportunity to pursue a meaningful life is a fundamental human right, and working has long been considered an activity that contributes to a sense of purpose and meaning. Employment can enhance one’s quality of life, promote inclusion, and play a pivotal role in mental health recovery. Yet, employment rates amongst people with lived experience of mental health issues are much lower than with their counterparts. One contributing factor is that employment is still far from normalised for those with lived experience. It is difficult for someone to perceive working as worthwhile and attainable if societal attitudes, assumptions, and existing work structures paint employment as neither possible nor accessible. However, work need not look the same for all people. Alternative work structures, such as supported employment, aim to shift control of the narrative back to the individual, acknowledging the varying levels of recovery through person-led, goal-oriented tools and support. Supported employment also provides a safe and flexible work environment for people with shared experiences to form meaningful connections outside of a clinical setting. This presentation will demonstrate how addressing barriers to employment and offering alternative work structures can empower more people to pursue their right to a meaningful life.
Learning Objective
1. Highlight the importance of employment in ensuring that those with lived experience have access and opportunity to live a fulfilling life.
2. Explore existing barriers to employment for people with lived experience of mental health issues, and demonstrate how supported employment can be an inclusive, recovery-oriented alternative.
1. Drake, R.E., & Wallach, M.A. (2020). Employment is a critical mental health intervention. Epidemiology & Psychological Sciences, 29, e178. https://doi.org/10.1017/S2045796020000906
2. Bilevicene, T., Bileviciute, E., & Draksas, R. (2016). Employment as a factor of life quality. Journal of International Studies, 9(3), 203–216. https://doi.org/10.14254/2071-8330.2016/9-3/16
3. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings. ABS. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/disability/disability-ageing-and-carers-australia-summary-findings/2018
4. Deegan, P.E. (1996). Recovery as a journey of the heart. Psychosocial Rehabilitation Journal, 19(3), 92–97. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0101301

Presentation 3: Dare to Care: Human Rights and Compassion in the Workplace.
Author: Naomi Chapman
The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities 2006 states that all Victorians have the right to be recognised as a person, to enjoy their rights without discrimination and to be treated equally under the law (Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, 2019). Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act, the recommendations from the Royal Commission, recent frameworks and strategies from the Department of Health, effort from various organisations, and lived experience practitioners have recognised not just the value of employing workers with lived experience but the relevance of co-design principles.
The presentation will show concepts that support lived experience practice. In times of crisis culturally safe and compassionate treatment can unify us as human beings. Yet workers often mistake empathy for compassion. Compassion is joining in others’ suffering, where you make an effort to understand the unique experience of the person in that moment (Hofmeyer et al. 2019). Lived experience practitioners work to lift themselves above unconscious biases to see all people in the organisation with similar worth, while understanding diversity and intersectionality. In doing so, they encourage attitudes of ally ship throughout the organisation (Weng et al. 2013). The presentation will also examine cultural safety, and demonstrate some practices within VTMH.
Learning Objective
Through this presentation, we hope that Lived Experience workers and allies will enhance their knowledge of the interaction between compassionate practice, cultural safety, diversity and human rights-based mental health care. There will be examples at VTMH that can inspire others to think about how this might look in practice.
Hofmeyer, A., Kennedy, K., & Taylor, R. (2019). Contesting the term “compassion fatigue”: Integrating findings from social neuroscience and self-care research. Collegian, 27(2). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.colegn.2019.07.0
Jinpa, D. T. P. (2016). Fearless heart: How the courage to be compassionate can transform our lives. Avery Pub Group.

Presentation 4Accessing careers outside of Community Services, the next Challenge for those with a Psychosocial Disability?
Author: Peter Hall
Workforce participation in Australia for people with a Psychosocial Disability should not be limited to roles or volunteering opportunities within the Community Services field. In 2018, the ABS reported that 1.14 million Australians had an identified psychosocial disability (or 4.6% of all Australians,) and that of this one in four (25.7% of these) were in some form of employment. In looking at this I contend that the extent to which people with psychosocial disability are employed outside the community services field is an unknown.
Based on my own lived experience, I question whether stigma and stereotypes impede employment and career opportunities in other industries outside of Community Services? Furthermore, given the ABS statistic, I ask how well are persons with a Psychosocial Disability supported in their employment outside of community services.
In addressing these questions I intend to identify and explore, industrial relations mechanisms, such as enterprise bargaining and discrimination legislation, that are currently available to empower individuals with a Psychosocial Disability to consider and gain access to employment outside the community services industry. Furthermore, I will make suggestions about how such mechanisms can be more wide spread with the intention that they become common place and widely known about.
Learning Objective
The objective of this presentation is to foster debate and ask why there is the perception that employment and career opportunities outside of the traditional Community Services industry are not expected for those with a Psychosocial Disability and to explore what mechanisms are in place to limit such discrimination.
https://www.abs.gov.au/articles/psychosocial-disability accessed 1 March 2023

This resource is only available for subscribers. If you have a subscription, please log in. Otherwise, click here to purchase a subscription.