Terms and definitions used in the Victorian Mentally Healthy Workplaces Framework

The terms and the definitions used for the purposes of the Framework are below:

TermDefinition for the purposes of this Framework
AbsenteeismAbsenteeism is when an employee is absent from work for lengths beyond what is considered an acceptable time span.
Continuous Improvement An ongoing effort to improve services, or processes. These efforts can seek "incremental" improvement over time or "breakthrough" improvement all at once.
DiversityDiversity is also about recognising, respecting and valuing differences based on ethnicity, gender, age, race, religion, disability and sexual orientation. It also includes an infinite range of individual unique characteristics and experiences, such as communication style, career path, life experience, educational background, geographic location, income level, marital status, parental status and other variables that influence personal perspectives.
Integrated approachAn integrated approach to creating and maintaining a mentally healthy workplace ensures that interventions protect mental health by reducing work–related risk factors, promote good mental health by developing the positive aspects of work, and respond to mental ill-health, irrespective of cause. (LaMontagne et al.)
IntersectionalityRefers to the ways in which different aspects of a person’s identity can expose them to overlapping forms of discrimination and marginalisation.
LeaderA person within a workplace who – through their title, role, or responsibilities – has the ability to positively influence the lives of individual co-workers and those within teams or the broader organisation.
Lived or Living experiencePeople with lived/living experience identify either as a person who is living with (or has lived with) mental illness or psychological distress, or someone who is caring for or otherwise supporting (or has cared for or otherwise supported) a person who is living with (or has lived with) mental illness or psychological distress (adapted from Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System).
Mental healthA state of wellbeing in which a person realises their own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to contribute to their community (Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System). This includes ‘social and emotional wellbeing’ which refers to being resilient, being and feeling culturally safe and connected, having and realising aspirations, and being satisfied with life.
Mental illness or Mental health conditionMental illness is a medical condition that is characterised by a significant disturbance of thought, mood, perception or memory. (Victorian Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022). In line with the Final Report from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, we note that people with lived/living experience can have varying ways of understanding the experiences that are often called ‘mental illness’. It acknowledges that mental illness can be described using terms such as ‘neurodiversity’, ‘emotional distress’, ‘trauma’ and ‘mental health challenges’
Mental ill-health or poor mental healthA state of low, declining, or poor mental health and wellbeing impacting negatively on an individual’s mood, energy, thought and/or behaviour that does not meet the criteria for a mental health condition.
Mentally healthy workplaceA mentally healthy workplace is a workplace that promotes mental health and wellbeing by recognising and enhancing the positive aspects of work that contribute to good mental health; protects the mental health and wellbeing of its workers by identifying and managing work-related risks to mental health; and responds (early, and irrespective of cause) to the needs of its workers by identifying and responding to support people experiencing declining wellbeing, mental ill-health or distress (adapted from the National Workplace Initiative’s Blueprint for Mentally Healthy Workplaces).
Priority populationThese include individuals who are typically at a higher risk of experiencing of health inequities (e.g. healthcare access, health outcomes). In Victoria, examples of these individuals include from those from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people experiencing homelessness, and people who identify as LGBTIQ+.
PsychosocialRefers to the involvement of psychological and social factors and the influence that social, emotional, spiritual, and mental influences can have on a person’s wellbeing.
Psychological hazardPsychosocial hazards are factors in the design or management of work that increase the risk of work related stress and can lead to psychological or physical harm (WorkSafe Victoria). Hazards can be work factors and human factors. (Safe Work Australia)
Psychosocial riskPsychosocial risks consider the degree and likelihood of consequence or impact of psychosocial hazards on individuals exposed to the hazards.
Psychological safetyPsychological safety is creating an environment where there is a shared belief among team members that they can express themselves, can speak up, share ideas, ask questions, take risks and make mistakes without fear of humiliation, ridicule, embarrassment or retribution.
Strengths based approachA strengths based approach in creating and maintaining a mentally healthy workplace moves the focus away from deficits/problems, and focuses on the strengths (skills, talents, creativity, innovation, knowledge etc) and resources of the people, team and the broader organisation. It is an approach that builds on what is working well, and looks for ways to use these strengths to address vulnerabilities being experienced by teams, workers and the organisation.
StigmaStigma is when someone sees you in a negative way because of your mental illness. Discrimination is when someone treats you in a negative way because of your mental illness. Social stigma and discrimination can make mental health problems worse and stop a person from getting the help they need.
Trauma-informed practiceTrauma-informed practice is an approach that recognises that trauma is common and that people accessing services and people delivering services may be affected by trauma.
WorkIncludes all forms of work, including full-time, part-time, short term, contract, casual, irregular or insecure work, and volunteering.
WorkerThe term “worker” has been used in this framework to represent all different ways Victorians are engaged in work. This includes all forms of work, including short term, casual, irregular or insecure work.
WorkplaceThe term “workplaces” or “organisations” has been used in this framework as a catch-all to represent all different types of businesses and places where people conduct work. Unless specifically mentioned, the information provided is guidance for all Victorian business types and all workplace types, including working from home or remote work, and working outdoors