Each year, approximately one in five people will experience a mental illness according to the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP).
Workplaces can help say RAMPH by ensuring that people dealing with mental health issues are identified and linked with the care they need. Working across NSW, Rural Adversity Mental Health (RAMHP) coordinators provide Workplace (and Community) Support Skills Training courses, which provide information on areas such as:
- How to look after your mental health
- Signs that a person may be struggling
- Finding and providing help
- How to have a conversation with someone you’re worried about
- How to help someone at risk of suicide
In an exclusive interview with ohs.com.au, senior project officer for the Rural RAMHP Claire Gander discusses the importance of feeling there is support in the workplace and what is involved in workplace support skills training.
“It is important for people to feel supported in all aspects of their lives, and this includes workplaces. Most of us spend a significant amount of our lives at work, and our colleagues are often the best placed to recognise when we are experiencing a mental health problem,” said Gander.
“It’s important for all of us, no matter our role in the workplace, to be able to identify those around us who may be struggling, and know what we can do to help. This may be as simple as listening and letting the person know where support is available.”
Gander believes that if you are experiencing a mental health problem, having a workplace you know that is understanding and supportive of your recovery can be significant in both seeking help and staying well.
Gander suggests a good place to start for workplaces is the Workplace Support Skills (WSS) training which is a three hour short course that aims to provide people with the skills and knowledge to identify the signs of a mental health problems in themselves or those around them and know what to do about it.
“The course provides skills for communicating effectively with both clients and colleagues who may be distressed and gives examples of how to have a conversation with someone you’re concerned about. We also talk about suicide risk and what you can do if you’re concerned that someone is at risk of harming themselves,” said Gander.
“We have 14 RAMHP coordinators located across rural and remote NSW who provide information about how and when to access services, both locally and state-wide.”
“Workplace Support Skills is our most widely utilised course and we hear fantastic feedback from participants about what they have learned and how they feel they can use the skills and knowledge in both their professional and private lives,” said Gander.
“The course provides simple, practical advice, which every person can benefit from learning.”