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Australia shaken, long recovery ahead: Findings of national resilience study

Announcement posted by Driven 24 Nov 2021

Australia’s national resilience has taken a big tumble over the past year - impacted by COVID-19 and the legacy of bushfires and drought - but there are early signs of recovery and optimism in the national psyche.

Some Australian industries have fared worse than others over the past two years - with the resilience of workers in finance, emergency services and healthcare taking the biggest hit.

These are the findings of a national report which has analysed the resilience levels of Australians over the past two years across a range of industries. 

Developed by global resilience training group Driven, the report explores the impact of national events - such as bushfires and COVID-19 - on Australia’s national mental health and wellbeing. The data also analysed how Australia’s resilience fared compared to other countries over the same period.

The report - National Resilience Index, Australia 2021 - clearly demonstrates the impact of national events such as the bushfires and COVID-19 on the national psyche. Unsurprisingly, in June 2021, while much of Australia was in lockdown, national resilience was at its lowest level since the start of the pandemic. The nation’s collective resilience levels started to slowly climb since then.

However, a legacy of this period is that many Australians now report finding it harder to regulate and control their emotions and stress than in the pre-COVID and bushfire period.

The study found that only nine per cent of Australians have a level of resilience that’s considered to be “protective” against anxiety and depression.

The remaining 91% of Australians in the study reported behaviours and characteristics synonymous with sub-optimal levels of resilience, placing them at increased risk of poorer mental health outcomes, including anxiety and depression. The “composure” aspect of resilience - which represents skills relating to the regulation of emotions and stress – was the most significantly impacted over this period.

Maria Ruberto, a consultant psychologist to Driven, says that building our mental resilience gives us the capacity to lead more functional and intentional lives.

“There has been so much focus on the “catastrophe” during 2021 that there's been very little clarity about where we are going. Building strong resilience is firstly about identifying our current capacity; what we do well, and then reset our vision toward moving forward.  Most importantly, is our attention to our internal states by training ourselves to understand our emotions, allowing us to achieve our goals and live with intention,” she said.

The Driven report found resilience levels differed across industries. Out of financial services, emergency services and education, the financial services industry started with the highest levels of resilience in Qtr 3 2019 and ended at the lowest point of all three industries in July 2021.

In the second quarter of 2021, emergency services and healthcare industries were below the resilience benchmark of 70%, meaning they were more vulnerable to anxiety and depression. While the education sector experienced a significant drop in 2020, attributed to the shift to remote learning, it’s the only profession that showed an increasing level of resilience over the reporting period.

Resilience expert and Driven CEO Jurie Rossouw says while the hit to Australia’s national resilience is concerning, there are signs of improvement.

"Now is the time for us to learn from this challenge we’ve faced and rebuild stronger,” he said. “This means supporting each other to build the skills needed to advance despite adversity. Resilience training gives us the capacity to grow and become stronger through every challenge.”

“That’s where resilience training and resilience first aid becomes crucial in communities and workplaces. As the nation goes back to work - with many returning to teams and offices around Australia - it is more important than ever to invest in resilience training and to build resilient workplaces,” he said.

Resilience experts are calling for a National Resilience Index to consistently monitor Australia’s mental health and wellbeing, with resilience training and resilience first aid being seen as important elements of our mental health recovery. 

“We propose the goal of 25% improvement in national resilience by 2025, to take a preventive approach to mental health. Resilience training for a quarter of the workforce, for example, could save the Australian government and workforce approximately $6.4 billion each year”, says Mr Rossouw..

The Driven resilience report includes data collated by researchers and psychologists who consolidated data and insights across neuroscience, AI, and technology to develop a comprehensive resilience scale. It’s used to assess an individual’s resilience levels across six domains – vision, composure, reasoning, health, tenacity and collaboration.

These six domains are what’s known as a Predictive 6 Factor Resilience Scale (PR6). The PR6 is a psychometric resilience assessment used by psychologists for patient assessment and universities for research in resilience.

 

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About Driven

Driven is a global research and technology company based in Sydney that develops scientific and scaleable resilience training and support services for workplaces and individuals.It provides Resilience First Aid training courses focused on building skills to proactively support mental health in corporate teams, first responder organisations and individuals. 

Media spokespeople [available for interview] 

Jurie Rossouw, Resilience expert and CEO at Driven 

Maria Ruberto, Resilience expert and psychology consultant to Driven

Case studies also available

To arrange media interviews

Contact Avril Turner on mobile 0400 302 271 or email avrilt@minthealth.com.au 

Background

The six domains of resilience

The Predictive 6 Factor Resilience Scale (PR6), as it is more precisely known, is a psychometric resilience assessment now used widely by organisations across the world to determine staff wellbeing. It is also used by psychologists for patient assessment and universities for research in resilience. Thousands of PR6 assessments have now been taken, enabling Driven to continuously build a robust source of data to analyse resilience trends.

The PR6 domains are:

  1. Vision: a sense of purpose and goals, alongside a feeling of congruence that actions are moving towards something meaningful
  2. Composure: having an internal awareness, being able to regulate emotions, and being able manage stress
  3. Reasoning: problem solving skills, being resourceful, anticipating challenges and planning ahead
  4. Health: healthy nutrition, quality sleep and regular exercise, which in turn support brain health
  5. Tenacity: being persistent, having realistic optimism, and bouncing back to regain motivation
  6. Collaboration: building strong support networks, communication skills, and making meaningful connections

Each of these domains interact in various ways to build overall resilience levels and our ability to advance despite adversity. A 70% score is the average resilience level on the scale. Under 70%, moves into below average then low resilience. While above it, we have above average or high resilience. The stronger the resilience, the better - as it becomes highly protective against depression and anxiety at 85% or higher. 

Key findings:

  • The “Composure” domain of resilience, representing skills relating to emotional regulation and stress management, has been most strongly impacted over the reporting period. Sitting at 59.6% in June 2021, it is 10.4% below the resilience benchmark of 70%. In essence, Australia is losing its composure.
  • At 62.8% in June 2021, Australia’s resilience reached its lowest level since the start of the 
    COVID-19 pandemic. It dropped 7.2 percentage points below the 70% benchmark.
  • Resilience becomes highly protective against depression and anxiety at 85% or higher.
  • Only 9.2% of Australians are in this 85%+ protective range. An estimated 90.8% of Australians could therefore strongly benefit from resilience training to move them towards the high resilience levels that protect against depression and anxiety.

Access Driven’s national resilience report: National Resilience Index, Australia 2021 here. Learn more about Driven here.

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