Defence industry tackles mental health with new course

Defence industry tackles mental health with new course

When a business is looking to become ‘Defence ready’, workplace resilience and wellbeing may seem like a low priority.

However, a strong and healthy mental state can impact the people and businesses in the Defence industry in significant ways.

The Defence Industry’s Workforce – Resilience and Wellbeing course has been designed to provide literacy around what mental health is and what the terminology means – including in the context of the workplace.

While mental health can be a tricky subject to tackle, the course will give people the tools to open the conversation and build a stronger business.

The course covers how to communicate about mental health in an effective way:

  • How do you start a conversation?
  • How do you talk to people about it in a safe way?

It also dives into the strategies that can be used to build a mentally healthy workplace in Defence.

Throughout COVID-19 there has been an increase in symptoms of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts, including among small and medium size business owners and employees.

Businesses in Defence are no exception.

According to Clinical Psychologist, researcher, and Program Manager at Everymind, a national institute dedicated to improving mental health and wellbeing, Dr Sally Fitzpatrick says the unique nature of the industry further compounds the risk of developing these types of mental illness – something many have seen or experienced first-hand.

“Businesses that work in Defence are under constant pressure. They tend to have very tight deadlines and very tight contractual arrangements for large delivery,” Sally said.

“Many people working in the industry are also veterans from the Defence forces, a group who may exhibit increased symptoms of PTSD, anxiety and other illnesses.”

Unfortunately, many business owners are unsure how to respond to mental health issues, whether it’s affecting them or a member of their staff. It’s also important to understand the difference between mental ill-health and wellbeing.

“The other issue is stigma. The stigma associated with mental ill-health is high, particularly in industries such as Defence, which tend to be male dominated.”

Experiencing mental ill-health, whether anxiety, depression, or other manifestations, can affect a person’s ability to come to work and do their job well.

“What we know is that mentally unhealthy workplaces are going to have increased staff turnover. They’re also going to have more sick days and a poorer work culture.”

The Defence Industry’s Workforce – Resilience and Wellbeing course has 40 positions available for businesses working in the Defence space to complete the course.

IMAGE | Hunter Defence launches Resilience and Wellbeing course.

Hunter Defence

Hunter Defence is a collaboration between HunterNet, Business Hunter, Newcastle Airport, RDA Hunter, the NSW Government, University of Newcastle and Master Builders Newcastle as the funding partners. This joint initiative promotes the Hunter’s defence industry capabilities. Hunter Defence also provides strategic leadership on defence issues and advocates to government and government agencies in relation to the region’s defence capabilities.


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