Resilience & Help Seeking – New Wellbeing Values

Posted on the 23rd May 2022

*Trigger warning – This story contains content about suicide

We’re always so excited to announce that we’re adding new values to the ASVB – but these two values seem especially important given everything that is going on in the world lately. With the extreme climate events we’ve experienced in Australia, the recent floods and the not too distant Black Summer bushfires, not to mention the ongoing pandemic encompassing extended lockdowns for many – you could say Australians have been doing it tough over the past few years!

Apart from the immediate losses that come with climate disasters, like losing one’s home and community, the prolonged emotional stress caused by the pandemic, financial pressures that come with loss of employment, increased social isolation, unhealthy emotional eating and reduced physical activity has taken it’s toll on our mental health. Our ASVB wellbeing values show us how much it’s worth to improve our wellbeing across each of these different areas.

But when it comes to the social wellbeing and mental health aspects of  “disaster recovery”, whether that disaster happens to be a flood, fire or pandemic, we’re primarily focused on increasing two things: people’s resilience and help-seeking behaviours.

The word “resilience” has become a bit of a catch-all phrase, but it’s really about having the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. The flip side of this is to be able to recognise when you’re struggling and take steps to seek help. With so much work being funded in these areas, we felt it was important to look at the value these outcomes bring to people’s wellbeing.

Partnering with Mates in Construction

That’s why we were so excited to partner with Mates in Construction (MATES) to undertake this research.

Suicide rates in the construction industry are 80% higher than in the general working age population, with that resulting in the loss of a construction worker every second day to suicide. In fact, construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than an accident at work.

It was based on statistics like these that Mates in Construction was founded to deliver a research-based suicide prevention program specifically focusing on the construction industry. MATES has since diversified to deliver suicide prevention programs into the mining and energy sectors, and more recently into pilot programs in manufacturing and apprentices

MATES is a research-based organisation with its own Academic Research Reference Group who have developed extensive peer-reviewed evaluations of their program, demonstrating that the MATES program does save lives. MATES research indicates there’s been at least an 8-10% reduction in suicide since its inception in 2008.

MATES values the work ASVB is doing to support organisations in understanding their contribution to wellbeing outcomes for individuals and communities. As an organisation we want tangible and real outcomes for the people, industries and communities we serve, and this can only be achieved through collaborative initiatives like this one where we support each other to improve program evaluation and measurement.

Program and Operations Manager MATES in Construction - Tu Boldeman

Understanding the social value of Resilience & Help-seeking

For those of you who understand the wellbeing valuation methodology used by the ASVB, you’ll know that our preference is to derive values based on existing national datasets. This helps to ensure the rigour of the dataset and that there is a large enough, nationally representative sample to use.

A small silver lining for us from the pandemic, was that additional questions were added to Wave 20 of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. This was a government response to try to further understand the impacts the pandemic was having on Australians.

The additional Coronavirus module in Wave 20 included a whole range of questions about how the pandemic had affected people; had they had the virus, how great was the general impact on their lives, did it effect their employment, their home life, their diet, their physical activity, alcohol and tobacco consumption, charity work, consumption of TV and streaming content, access to digital technology, social contact, social distancing. You name it, they asked it!

Thankfully for us, they also added a panel of four questions covering resilience and self-reliance as seen in the below image.

Taken from the HILDA Wave 20 Self Completion Questionnaire

The panel includes a 2-item version of the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC), questions a and c above. (Vaishnavi S, Connor K, Davidson JRT. 2007. An abbreviated version of the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC), the CD-RISC 2: psychometric properties and application in psychopharmacological trials. Psychiatry Research, 152: 293-297.)

The other two items, b and d, are drawn from the 46-item version of the Conformity of Masculinity Norms Inventory [CNMI] (Hammer JH, Heath PJ & Vogel DL. 2018. Fate of the total score: Dimensionality of the Conformity to Masculine Role Norms Inventory (CMNI-46). Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 19: 645-651).

When our partners Simetrica-Jacobs conducted the analysis of the data, they were able to derive a value for increased resilience based on the two items from the CD-RISC, but the analysis of how the two self-reliance items related to each other was less clear cut. They tried a couple of alternative specifications that involved question b, but found it did not really seem to have much of an influence. They made the decision to to just use the data from question d to reduce complication for our ASVB users when applying the value.

As the self-reliance questions were taken from an instrument originally relating specifically to attitudes among men, Simetrica-Jacobs looked at the impact on that specific group in the data, but didn’t find any significant differences between sexes, so again chose to not over complicate application for our ASVB users.

Both of the values derived had high statistical significance and passed Simetrica-Jacobs quality assurance processes.

As a result of only using one of the items from the self-reliance questions, we have decided to list this value as “Increased help-seeking” rather than “Increased self-reliance” as we feel this more accurately reflects someone having increased willingness to seek help when needed.

Applying the Resilience & Help-seeking Values

If you are delivering programs such as mental health and suicide prevention programs, disaster recovery programs, or any programs that focus on creating the outcomes of increasing people’s resilience or the willingness to seek help when needed, these values are now available to apply within the ASVB Value Calculator.

If you’re already an ASVB Subscriber, please download the current version of the ASVB User Guide with the May2022 Addendum at the end, for guidance on applying the Resilience and Help-seeking values.

For those interested in learning more about the ASVB and how you might use these values to measure the social impact of your programs, please get in touch on

ASVB User Guide + Addendum May 2022

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