EP #105: Addressing psychosocial hazards at work

Trigger warning: themes of mental and physical abuse

Dr Amaly Khalaf and Dr Steven Munns from the Australian Public Service Commission explore psychological safety in public sector workplaces – from the desk to the frontlines.

Creating workplaces which are both mentally and physically safe is a mission close to Dr Amaly Khalaf’s and Dr Steven Munn’s hearts. On this episode of Work with Purpose, they talk us through how the public sector is working towards this – from exemplary and trustful leadership to processes grounded in evidence.

Amaly, principal psychologist and lead of the APS Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Unit, shines a light on the new ADDRESS program, designed to support public sector agencies and staff in building mentally healthy workplaces. Steven, assistant commissioner, Diversity & Inclusion Branch, then connects this to how psychosocial hazards play out at the frontlines – for example at Centrelink or veteran’s services – and what can be done to support staff exposed to aggressive or abusive behaviour.

Discussed in this episode:

  • The difference between psychosocial and psychological safety
  • Types of psychosocial hazards
  • The ADDRESS program
  • Service-user violence and aggression
  • Reporting psychosocial hazards
  • Embedding honest reporting processes.

If you feel distressed during the episode, there is support available to you. Please call Lifeline’s 24/7 support line on 13 11 14 if you need someone to talk to.

Show notes:


Dr Amaly Khalaf

Amaly is a highly experienced executive leader who is currently the principal psychologist and lead of the APS Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Unit (MHSP) at the Australian Public Service Commission which developed the award-winning Compassionate Foundations and Connections programs, ADDRESS and the 6R Relational Leadership toolkit. Amaly has worked as a clinical psychologist for over 25 years, and prior to joining the MHSP she led large public mental health programs including Open Arms Veterans and Families Counselling, ACT Adult Community Mental Health Services, and rehabilitation and specialty mental health services.

Dr Steven Munns

Dr Steve Munns is currently the assistant commissioner for the Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Branch at the Australian Public Service (APS) Commission. He is a proud Gumbaynggirr/Bundjalung man currently living on Jagera country in Brisbane. His mob are from Grafton in the Northern Rivers area of NSW.  In his role, he is responsible for the First Nations Unit, the Diversity & Inclusion Strategies Team, Inclusion Policy Team and the Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Unit. Current projects being developed and managed in the D&I branch are the SES100 aimed at boosting First Nations employment across the APS, the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Strategy, the Disability Employment Strategy and the ADDRESS model for responding to psychosocial hazards