Resilience in the workplace: How it helps with recovery from psychological injury

Workplaces can be unpredictable, challenging and stressful environments. They can truly test an individual’s mental health. But there are ways to strengthen and enhance how people ride out these waves of difficulty.

The answer is resilience-building interventions, which over the last several years have become integral to every stage of an organisation’s well-being journey.

Current estimates indicate that at least $292,770 is spent per mental health related workers’ compensation case[i],[ii]. The most common causes of psychological injury claims include work pressure, harassment and bullying, and exposure to workplace violence[iii]. Safe Work Australia also reports that the outcomes for employees who experience psychological injuries are poorer than for those recovering from physical injuries[iv].

However, Resilia, a psychological injury recovery specialist, improves return-to-work outcomes for people with psychological injuries via its multi-layered and targeted solutions. Outcomes demonstrate a shift against the trends, with RTW rates equivalent to that of workers with physical injuries[i]

When used within an integrated approach to manage organisational, interpersonal, and individual risks, resilience-building interventions can foster growth, flexibility, and the capacity for employees to thrive.

Workplace interventions can save lives

The right recovery interventions can significantly aid employees in developing coping skills to enhance recovery, improve motivation, and build their overall sense of wellbeing[i].

The main goals for employees recovering from psychological injury are to achieve complete recovery by way of improved health, and returning to full functioning at work[ii].

Resilience-building intervention programs that focus on enhancing personal effectiveness by strengthening resilience and building mental fitness have shown the potential to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress by over 60% and improve wellbeing by over 40%.

Why resilience is a core feature

Supporting improved resilience skills is a significant part of Resilia’s recovery and return-to-work programs. Resilia’s main approach and philosophy includes collaboration with stakeholders, setting SMART goals, and developing wholistic support interventions.  

In working with employees with psychological injuries, Resilia uses a goal-oriented SMART approach (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) to ensure positive results[i]. These objectives include optimising psychological functionality, building capacity to partake in work and continuing recovery through work. These plans are created and delivered through positive psychology and motivational frameworks.

This approach leverages resilience-building techniques, ensuring gradual psychological growth through the process of recovery and return to work.

Health and business benefits of good work

Psychological resilience allows employees to recover from adversity properly. Luckily, it is a skill that one can be taught, and it is becoming increasingly critical owing to the havoc that COVID-19 has played in people’s lives.

To assist workers with maintaining positive mental health and recovery progress during COVID-19, Resilia provided a digital program to encourage self-directed learning from each module.

The goal was simple: continue recovery momentum virtually, improve individual wellbeing and empower people to improve their readiness to return to work in the post-COVID world.

After the program, a reduction was noted in the depression, anxiety, and stress scores across 75% of participants. Further, a 40% improvement in wellbeing scores was reported by the cohort. The program also resulted in 87.5% of participants increasing their work capacity, 12.5% gained volunteer work, and 25% obtained new employment.

The foundations of all of Resilia’s interventions rely heavily on the concept of positive psychology through communication protocols and interactions with stakeholders, providing support at every step of the wellbeing journey.

Download our The Case for Resilience’ whitepaper and help empower and transform your workforce.

[i] Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). Work-related injuries.

[ii] Black Dog Institute. (2021). Modern work: how changes to the way we work are impacting Australians’ mental health.

[iii] State Insurance Regulatory Authority. (2019). Workers’ compensation – a brief history.

[iv] Safe Work Australia. (2020). National Return to Work Strategy 2020-2030 Measurement Framework

[v] Black Dog Institute. (2021). Modern work: how changes to the way we work are impacting Australians’ mental health.

[vi] Van Hees, S. G., Carlier, B. E., Vossen, E., Blonk, R. W., & Oomens, S. (2022). Towards a better understanding of work participation among employees with common mental health problems: a systematic realist review. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 48(3), 173-189. https://doi:10.5271/sjweh.4005

[vii] Safe Work Australia. (2017). Return-to-work: A comparison of psychological and physical injury claims. [1]

[viii] Seligman, M. E., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2014). Positive psychology: An introduction. In Flow and the foundations of positive psychology (pp. 279-298). Springer, Dordrecht.