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Health and wellbeing

Physical Activity

Physical Activity

Physical activity logo

Deakin University has received Recognition Point 2 for Physical Activity under the Healthy Together Achievement Program!

The research

The Deakin offerings

  • Deakin Active – Burwood and Waurn Ponds on campus fitness centres!

The tools

Don’t forget – a Healthy Deakin is more than just increasing our physical activity… open the other tabs for more information and initiatives from our workplace!

Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating at Deakin

Deakin Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research (C-PAN)

Healthy eating choices and recipes

Useful Information

Mental Health

Mental health

Mental health and Wellbeing logo Deakin University has received Recognition Point 2 for Mental Health under the Healthy Together Achievement Program!

One in three Australians will experience depression and/or anxiety at some point in their lifetime.  This means almost 20% of us may experience depression, anxiety or a substance use disorder during any year.

Mental health conditions affect different people in different ways: they can be mild, transient and easily managed or they can be serious, debilitating and life-threatening. Most staff with a mental health condition can and will try to actively remain at work.

Others however, will need time off. In these cases, the University can play a key role in ensuring that returning to the workplace is a smooth process for the individual, the team and the organisation. If a staff member experiencing a mental health condition returns to work in an appropriate and meaningful role, this may decrease the likelihood of relapse and increase the likelihood of the University retaining the skills and experience of that individual.

Similar approaches can be used to assist staff members stay at work where practical and with their doctor's support.

In addition, with most of us spending more than 50% of our adult waking lives at work, the workplace can heavily influence the mental health of staff and thus our community as a whole.

What is Deakin doing to promote a psychologically healthy workplace?

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What does a psychologically healthy workplace look like?

Recognising and promoting good mental health is essential to creating a safe and healthy workplace. Organisations, managers and workers all have a responsibility to create a safe work environment that is supportive of workers experiencing mental illness. A psychologically healthy workplace:

  • Promotes a culture that is inclusive and emphasises abilities not limitations
  • Aims to eliminate discrimination and stigma and adopts respectful language
  • Understands it's duty of care and OHS responsibilities
  • Has policies and procedures that consider mental health in the workplace
  • Offers programs and resources to educate and inform staff about mental health, it's impacts and strategies to address and support them
  • Promotes collaborative decision making and/or problem solving amongst all levels of staffing
  • Ensures everyone is treated with consideration and respect

Employers and managers have an obligation to manage and minimise health and safety risks in the workplace. This extends to identifying workplace practices, actions and incidents that can cause or contribute to worker's mental health. For example, excessive workloads; lack of role and task clarity; lack of flexibility; conflict.

What is mental health or mental illness?

Mental health is a state of wellbeing in which the individual:

  • is able to realise his or her own abilities
  • can cope with the normal stresses of life
  • can work productively and fruitfully, and,
  • is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

A mental illness is a health problem that significantly affects how a person feels, thinks, behaves, and interacts with other people. It is diagnosed according to standardised criteria and can be successfully managed with treatment.

A mental health problem also interferes with how a person thinks, feels, and behaves, but to a lesser extent than a mental illness. Mental health problems are less severe than mental illnesses, but may develop into a mental illness if they are not effectively dealt with. (Dept of Health and Ageing).

Mental health facts: prevalence, treatment, experience

  • One in five Australians experience a mental illness at some stage in their lives, with many experiencing more than one mental illness at one time.
  • Mental Illness is treatable. Most people fully recover from a mental illness, especially if they receive help early. Some people experience significant disability as a result of an ongoing mental illness, whilst many others live full and productive lives.
  • Many people experiencing mental illness are in stable and successful employment. Mental illness says nothing about a person's capabilities or future. While some people may require support from their workplace when unwell, many will not require any additional support.
  • Mental illness is not synonymous with violence. Only a small number of people with a mental illness are violent and this tends to coincide with having an untreated psychotic episode.

Types of mental illnesses

Managing mental health in the workplace: your role as a manager

You have a critical role in working with your staff who may be experiencing mental health issues. Managing mental health in the workplace boils down to supportive and effective management practices.

Getting help with mental health

Contact details for external organisations that specialise in providing advice and assistance to people experiencing a mental health issue, and/or their carer's and managers

Work related stress

Further assistance

Further advice on return to work or maintenance at work can be obtained through your Human Resources contact or the Health, Wellbeing and Safety Unit. Where mental illness has an ongoing affect on work, then further assistance or advice can also be sought from Disability Services within the Equity and Diversity Unit.

Further information is also contained in:



Healthy Together Victoria

As a registered employer of the Healthy Together Victoria Achievement Program, Deakin is creating a healthy workplace by offering a range of benefits and services to support and improve the wellbeing of Deakin staff.  Deakin staff have access to sporting facilities, flexible work arrangements, on campus medical centres and information and resources to encourage staff wellness.

Enjoying an alcoholic drink in moderation can be a sociable activity and is often part of the celebration of significant events.

Alcohol consumption is also a substance that can cause the body harm.  So how do you know if you are drinking too much?  You might find Dr Bosco Rowland, from Deakin's School of Psychology, can answer that question for you.

Deakin University Alcohol Policy  

While at work Deakin staff including contractors must ensure that they are not impaired by the effects of alcohol and drugs during the course of their work.  The Alcohol Policy and the Code of Conduct, provides a clear framework for students, staff and other members of the University community for the responsible supply and consumption of alcohol at any activity or event where they are representing the University.

The Alcohol policy also describes specific work activities where alcohol is not to be consumed because of the inherent high risk nature of the work.

Support Services

The University will provide support for students and staff who are experiencing alcohol-related issues, including addiction. Students needing assistance with alcohol related issues should contact the Division of Student Life.  Staff needing assistance with alcohol related issues should contact/speak with their manager, the Human Resources Division Health, Wellbeing and Safety team, their HR Client Partner or the Employee Assistance Program.

The Department of Health guidelines provide answers to a range of common questions that will assist you to understand some of the risk related to alcohol consumption and why as a community we need to understand how it affects our mental and physical health.

What do I need to know if I am a Deakin manager or supervisor?  

Managing the use of alcohol at events

The Alcohol policy provides a useful event risk assessment template for event organisers to use so that event related risks which include alcohol service and consumption can be managed by event organisers.  It must be completed as part of planning any University event.

Event organisers must fully understand the Alcohol policy and applicable laws, regulations and University procedures and guidelines and manage their events accordingly. They also are expected to keep the safety and well-being of participants at the forefront of their planning and management of events. Further information can be found at

Low risk events need to be managed and this checklist can assist managers and event organisers to ensure alcohol related risk is systematically considered and addressed.

What do I need to know about the health impacts of alcohol?

Factors such as gender, age, mental health, drug use, and existing medical conditions can change how alcohol affects you. Responsible drinking is about balancing your enjoyment of alcohol with the potential risks and harm that may arise from drinking - especially if you go beyond low risk drinking levels.

What do the guidelines recommend?

  • For healthy men and women, drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day reduces your risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury over a lifetime.
  • Drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the risk of alcohol-related injury arising from that occasion.

What are the health risks?

The health risks that accumulate over a lifetime from alcohol increase progressively - this means that the more you drink, the greater the risk.

Drinking alcohol can affect your liver or cause brain damage, heart disease, high blood pressure and increases your risk of many cancers. It may also increase your risk of injury through road trauma, violence, falls and accidental death.

What is a standard drink?

A standard drink contains 10 grams of pure alcohol.  It is important to note that drink serving sizes are often more than one standard drink. There are no common glass sizes used in Australia.
The label on an alcoholic drink container tells you the number of standard drinks in the container.

Tips to reduce the risk to your health when drinking

It is possible to drink at a level that is less risky, while still having fun. There are a number of things you can do to make sure you stay within low risk levels and don't get to a stage where you are no longer capable of controlling your drinking.

These include:

  • Set limits for yourself and stick to them
  • Start with non-alcoholic drinks and alternate with alcoholic drinks
  • Drink slowly
  • Try drinks with a lower alcohol content
  • Eat before or while you are drinking
  • If you participate in rounds of drinks try to include some non-alcoholic drinks

Alcohol and mental health

There is growing evidence that alcohol increases the risk of some mental health problems, like depression and anxiety. Around 37% of people who report problems with alcohol also have a co-occurring anxiety and/or mood disorder. The risk of having a mental illness is around four times higher for people who drink alcohol heavily than for people who don’t.  For more information on this important research visit the Better Health Channel.

Additional Resources

Community Connections

VicHealth is investing more than $3 million to change cultures of risky drinking in Victoria.

The Alcohol Culture Change initiative is an evidence-based approach to change cultures of risky drinking within subpopulations in Victoria.

We know that one-size does not fit all, we are a diverse state consisting of many drinking cultures. Nine new projects will trial targeted and tailored efforts – over 24 months – that reach those most in need, where risky drinking and risk of alcohol-related harm is greatest.

Underpinning this Initiative is the Alcohol Cultures Framework which provides the evidence to guide our approach, including, project design, delivery and evaluation.

Deakin University is one of the successful recipients.

Alcohol Culture Change in the University Setting – Deakin University

This project commenced in early 2017 with qualitative and quantitative research to identify and explore cultures of risky drinking at Deakin University. The project will then design and trial a series of tailored intervention approaches in early 2018.

If you’d like to get more information on this initiative, please go the VicHealth website, or contact the Project Officer Rachael Telgenkamp, Alcohol Culture Change Project, School of Health & Social Development.



No smoking logo

Deakin University has received Recognition Point 2 for Smoking under the Healthy Together Achievement Program!

As of 10 March 2014 Deakin became a smoke free University.

How can you help?

Information for managers and supervisors

You can provide guidance and support for staff who are smokers by asking them to familiarise themselves with the Smoking and Tobacco policy and with the support services available.

Many smokers make seven to eight attempts before they are successful in overcoming their addiction. For many people, quitting smoking is the hardest thing they will ever do. The workplace should be a place that supports this challenging process.

You can be supportive by:

  • Showing concern for them no matter what you think about their smoking
  • Not preaching, nagging or using guilt trips
  • Keeping in regular contact with them to offer support and encouragement
  • Being sensitive to the needs of the smoker who is quitting
  • Letting them know you believe they can do it and that they have your support whether they are able to quit now or later

You should encourage your staff to develop strategies to manage their smoking even if they believe they cannot quit. Research shows that quitting abruptly is more effective than cutting down unless you are cutting down as part of a structured program where someone other than you decides when you can smoke. you should also be willing to discuss support options, for example, arranging work schedules to allow attendance at QUIT programs.

As a manager, you are expected to deal with absences from work due to smoking in the same way you would deal with other unauthorised or excessive absences during paid work time.

You can seek advice from your HR Client Partner on how to deal with specific performance or behavioural issues (such as unexplained or unauthorised absences, poor work performance, irritability etc.). If there are personal safety or welfare issues involved advice can be sought from the Health, Wellbeing and Safety team.

You are responsible for:

  • Ensuring that areas under your control are smoke-free
  • Communicating the policy in a relevant way to staff, students, contractors and visitors
  • Encouraging and supporting staff who wish to stop smoking
  • Discussing with Health Wellbeing and Safety about placing 'No Smoking' signs or of particular problem areas
  • Advising as appropriate in inductions new staff, students, contractors and visitors that the University is smoke free. If there is a persistent issue please contact Health Wellbeing and Safety

Information for colleagues

For many people, quitting smoking is the hardest thing they will ever do. The workplace can be a place that supports this challenging process.

You can be supportive of your colleagues who smoke by:

  • Showing concern for them no matter what you think about their smoking
  • Not preaching, nagging or using guilt trips
  • Keeping in regular contact with them to offer support and encouragement
  • Letting them know you believe they can do it and that they have your support whether they are able to quit now or later

All staff are responsible for:

  • Cooperating in the implementation of the Smoking and Tobacco policy and the Code of Conduct.
  • Supporting colleagues who wish to stop smoking.
  • Advising people, as appropriate, that the University is smoke free. If there is a persistent issue then please discuss with your manager or supervisor.

I want to quit

Support at Deakin is available

  • Visit the Deakin medical centre on campus for QUIT information and support.
  • Make an appointment online with the Campus nurse for support
  • Send an email to for more information and advice
  • Contact Quit 13 78 48 to talk to someone or visit the QUIT website for information and support

Useful Wellbeing Information

Useful Wellbeing Information

Work related stress

Workplace stress, if not properly managed, is associated with poor health and wellbeing, lower productivity and increased sickness absence. Find out more about work related stress.

Inappropriate workplace behaviours, including workplace bullying

Inappropriate workplace behaviours can range from interpersonal conflict to harassment and bullying. Some behaviours such as bullying and sexual harm are unlawful. Dealing with such behaviours at the earliest opportunity will minimise any damage caused by such behaviours and give the best chance of resolving the issues.

Compensation for damaged clothing

The University will provide reasonable reimbursement for costs associated with the replacement or repair of clothing damaged in the course of employment: Compensation for damage to clothing (PDF, 24.8KB)

Deakin Medical Centres

Onsite Deakin Medical Centres provide accessible medical services for all current students and staff. The centres are staffed by qualified and experienced medical doctors and nurses who provide confidential health care services.

Geelong Swim Sport & Leisure Centres

The Geelong region has a number of Swim Sport and Leisure centres that provide you with a corporate discount. The Leisurelink Aquatic and Recreation Centre is conveniently located close to the Waurn Ponds campus.

Just mention you are a Deakin employee when signing up for a membership.

Better Health, Better Research, Healthier Communities

Deakin carries out research in a wide range of health areas. Frequently researchers are looking for program participants, which may give you an opportunity to learn more about your own health and contribute to the health of the community. If you are interested look at the current Deakin research programs.

Sun Protection

Stay sun smart when outdoors and remember to 'Slip, slop, slap, seek and slide'. For further information on staying sunsmart go to or download the free SunSmart UV Alert App to be advised of daily sun protection times and UV levels.

Health Insurance Plans

Special rates and a variety of plans are available for Deakin staff with a number of different health insurance providers, including HCF, Bupa, and GMHBA.

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