Australia Post, a government owned postal service provider in Australia, has announced plans to appoint its first chief mental health officer.
The responsibilities of the chief mental health officer will include focusing on the development of evidence-based, practical and engaging organisational development solutions to drive continued improvement in workplace psychological health.
This announcement also builds on Australia Post’s partnership with Beyond Blue, which connects Australian communities with important mental health initiatives. Reportedly, Beyond Blue’s mental health information has reached more than 6,000,000 letterboxes across Australia, including 4,000,000 prepaid postcards encouraging people to take action to support their mental health by writing to each other to connect.
In addition, through the post office network, small business owners were connected with mental health coaching services and more than A$75,000 (US$53,500) was raised for mental health in 2021.
Australia Post was recognised in 2021 at both Comcare Awards and the National Safety Council Awards for its contribution in the space through the Early Matched Care at Australia Post (EMCAP) program. Beginning as a trial and now being rolled out nationally, EMCAP has confirmed the benefits of targeted and early intervention when someone injures themselves at work, with the aim of identifying and supporting those at risk of secondary psychological injuries from a physical injury. With proven EMCAP is now being rolled out nationally and results have shown that team members are returning to work on average 40 days earlier.
Australia Post has actively contributed to raising awareness and driving action on making access to good mental health care possible. The postal service is also a member of the Healthy Heads in Trucks and Sheds Foundation (HHTSF), which promotes prevention and understanding of mental health issues that exist across the road transportation and logistics industries in Australia. Australia Post Group CEO and Managing Director Paul Graham is also Chair of the HHTSF board.
Commenting on the importance of mental health care in the broader community, Graham said, “We have the opportunity to apply learnings across a large and diverse workforce and understand what will be effective in supporting our people and driving a culture of change when it comes to mental health. We will then be able to share those learnings to help the broader community.”
Having made visible and vocal strides in the space of mental health, Australia Post remains undeterred in its efforts to cascade the message across the community. With the new appointment, the organisation will be better equipped to tackle the conversation and drive meaningful action for its workforce and thereby the broader community.