VicHealth has a multi-layered approach to improving mental wellbeing and resilience in young Victorians through education, community, online platforms, workplace partnerships and the arts.

Our 3-year priority: Build stronger approaches to resilience, focusing on young people

We need to build the right foundations for mental wellbeing – long before illness begins – in our homes, communities and workplaces. 

One of the keys to mental wellbeing is building resilience, which is the ability to maintain wellbeing despite adversity. It’s been shown that resilience helps people with a mental illness to cope better and for those without a mental illness to flourish. 

We develop resilience through various individual and environmental factors. Where we live, work, learn, play and build relationships with one another are important influences, and can affect the likelihood of people being free from mental illness and having a greater sense of wellbeing. In particular, they can impact those whose circumstances have made them more vulnerable.


Preventing violence against women


For more than a decade VicHealth has driven a groundbreaking program of research and action that has informed the establishment of a vibrant sector working toward the prevention of violence against women in Victoria.

VicHealth partnered with the Australian Government to undertake the survey, released in 2014. Over the last year we have worked to promote and deepen understanding of the results through the delivery of a series of workshops throughout Victoria. We have also undertaken more focused analysis of particular groups, including young respondents aged 16–24. This work provides a snapshot of community attitudes, which is used to help hone and direct efforts in preventing violence against women.

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Generating Equality And Respect (GEAR)
Drawing from a longstanding commitment to research, policy and partnership, VicHealth piloted an Australia-first program, Generating Equality And Respect (GEAR). In partnership with Monash City Council and MonashLink Community Health Services, VicHealth’s GEAR program will deliver tried and tested primary prevention programs in Melbourne’s south-east over a three-year period. This site-based, saturation approach aims to reach people where they live, work, study and play with interventions and activities that address the root causes of violence against women.


Building Resilience Teacher Training

Research shows that high levels of mental wellbeing are associated with improved learning, creativity, productivity and social relationships.
Building resilience early in life has been shown to have a strong protective effect against mental illness. Schools are therefore an obvious place to implement resilience building activities. 
In collaboration with the Department of Education and the University of Melbourne, VicHealth has launched the Building Resilience Teacher Training Project, which involves faceto-face and online professional development packages for teachers to support their delivery of the Resilience and Wellbeing Framework curriculum. 

The curriculum was developed by Associate Professor Helen Cahill from the Youth Research Centre in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. Dr Cahill is a recognised expert in the field of resilience building in schools and in teacher training. 



Improving mental wellbeing in the workplace

The Victorian Workplace Mental Wellbeing Collaboration is a partnership between VicHealth, WorkSafe Victoria (WSV) and SuperFriend. It aims to promote workplace mental wellbeing in Victoria by harnessing the collective expertise and networks of each organisation.

With combined experience in mental wellbeing, health promotion, and occupational health and safety, the Collaboration will enable the mapping, testing and sharing of world-class products to Victorian workplaces. 


Activities during 2014-15 included:

  • hosting a series of Business Leaders’ Breakfasts, with expert speakers 
  • mapping of resources in workplace mental health promotion
  • developing a website with resources to help employers promote mental wellbeing in the workplace.

Social connection and the arts

The VicHealth Active Arts Strategy (2014–17) aims to use active and participatory arts to encourage physical activity and social connection and improve mental wellbeing. It includes:

The Innovation Challenge – Arts
Grants to support innovative ideas that increase physical activity and mental wellbeing. Projects included No Lights, No Lycra and Pop Up Playground.

Community activations
Partnerships between key arts organisations and local communities to develop sustainable arts and physical activity projects. 

Mass participation
Staging of ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’ at White Night Melbourne. Some 100,000 people took part in the 12-hour dance marathon.

Arts About Us 2010–15
Helping arts organisations promote discussion about cultural diversity and the harms of race-based discrimination, and give a voice to those who’ve experienced discrimination.



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