Key Reports – Foundations

Sector Specific

Phase two of Beyond Blue’s  work with the mental health and wellbeing of police and emergency services personnel resulted in a report: Answering the Call.  Survey findings from more than 21,000 staff and volunteers nation-wide can be read in the Executive SummaryFull Report and Detailed Report. You can also view a webinar of key findings and read the Beyond Blue phase three report of this National Mental Health and Wellbeing Study of Police and Emergency Services which summarises the outcomes, learnings and recommendations of each phase of this four year undertaking.

In 2019 Movember released a mental ill health and suicide prevention and early intervention programs for veterans and first responders. It is a meta-analysis of evidence from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the United Kingdom that asks two questions. What mental ill health/suicide prevention and early intervention programs exist and which one’s are effective?  For a brief version, read the executive summary.

In 2019, the Parliament of Australia conducted a Senate Inquiry into the Mental Health of First Responders. This inquiry came about as a result of an individual first responder, Ms Simone Haigh, reaching out and relating her experiences. The committee received a considerable volume of evidence directly from first responders, the bulk of it made public. This evidence, given both in writing and verbally at public hearings, gives the committee and the wider community a rare glimpse into the daily realities faced by first responders, people who spend their working lives engaging with confronting situations.

In 2020 the King’s College London and The Open University conducted a study to assess the mental health and wellbeing of the emergency responder (ER) community in the UK.  This systematic review collated and analysed data from UK, international academic and non-academic literature. Alongside this, researchers conducted stakeholder interviews, a landscape review of provision of support services, and desktop research to gain insight into the nature and effectiveness of available mental health and wellbeing support for the sector.

This Beyond Blue (2018) research reports on national rates of suicide among police and emergency responders relative to the rest of the working population.  It identifies risk factors and implications for policy and practice.  It is a closer look at aspects that reveal the state of workplace mental health, written by LaMontagne, Milner, Papas; West, Maheen, and Witt.


The Victorian Mental Health Royal Commission’s final report is a five-volume report with 65 recommendations found that our mental health system operates in crisis mode, has failed to live up to expectations, and must be rebuilt from the ground up.  The Royal Commission’s findings and recs were informed by emergency responders, who are profoundly impacted by the broken state of the system.

Developing a Mentally Healthy Workplace is a deep dive into the academic literature and draws on evidence to outline the practical means by which workplaces can enhance and support the mental health and wellbeing of employees.  It was created by Black Dog and The University of Sydney, for the National Mental Health Commission and the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance. An infographics style summary of key findings is also available.

This research compendium is a selection of papers that created the evidence base for the Total Worker Health program which is leading practice psycho-social workplace safety in the United States.  This collection of seminal papers has been compiled by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health are widely cited in the science and practice of integrating health protection and health promotion.

The 2019 Indicators of a Thriving Workplace National Report by Superfriend analyses insights from over 10,000 Australian workers in a broad range of industries and occupations. As well as reporting on the current state of Australia’s workplace mental health and wellbeing, the report includes a special spotlight on stress, stigma, workplace-related mental health conditions, and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers.

In 2014 Beyond Blue and the Heads Up initiative released The State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia. 1,126 people were surveyed from  a representative sample of Australian workers (of these, 85 were with senior leaders) to provide a detailed snapshot of the state of mental health in Australian workplace.

Combatting Staff Burnout in Mental Health is an academic meta-analysis by Coates and Howe (2015) which identifies organisational management and leadership styles that protect staff from stress and  burnout. Nine managerial and leadership tasks are identified as key to staff wellbeing and retention because they create workplace environments that buffer against stress and mental injury.


In October 2019, the Productivity Commission released volume 1 and volume 2 of the Mental Health Draft Report.  There report also has an overview & recommendations and video of the key findings.  The study inquires into the mental health and wellbeing of Australia’s population, the prevention and early detection of mental illness, and treatment for those who have a diagnosed condition. It examines how people with or at risk of mental ill-health can be enabled to reach their potential in life, have purpose and meaning, and contribute to the lives of others. 

In Feb 2020 the Senate referred an inquiry into lessons to be learned in relation to the preparation and planning for, response to and recovery efforts following the 2019-20 Australian bushfire season to the Finance and Public Administration References Committee.  On 7 October 2020, the committee tabled a substantive interim report. Chapter four outlines submission points about the mental health impacts of this devastating fire season for first responders, and the general community. 

Safe Work Australia (2019) have released National Guidance Material for meeting work-related psychological health and safety duties under work health and safety (WHS)/ workers’ compensation laws in all Australian jurisdictions. This Guide has a wealth of background evidence and describes a systematic practical approach to managing work-related psychological health and safety.