Recognising that as many as one in five adults in the developed world will have a diagnosed mental health issue in any one year, Toll is delivering the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program across its sites as part of the wellbeing strategy. You will soon see new posters that identify the MHFAO’s (Mental Health First Aid Officers for your workplace.
If you would like to do the MHFA training and then be considered as part of the MHFAO cohort please send an email expressing interest to [email protected] .
The two-day program, created by Mental Health First Aid Australia in conjunction with the University of Melbourne, is based on evidence of what is best practice mental health first aid to support someone who has a mental health problem or is experiencing a mental health crisis.
Toll’s Group Manager of Wellbeing and Senior Chaplain, Ruth Oakden, says mental health is an important part of general wellbeing. “We want to recognise that as well as physical safety, it is important to provide our employees with the resources to address any mental health concerns,” Ruth says.
“This is significantly achieved by raising awareness of mental health issues, which reduces stigma and allows our managers to support our employees who are dealing with mental health issues.”
It’s an important part of making sure everyone feels safe at work, she says. “We also hope to encourage people with mental health issues to feel comfortable and know that the workplace can assist and support them.”
Despite the COVID 19 challenges MHFA training will proceed during the second half of 2020 in most states.
One participant in the Mental Health First Aid program last year was Customer and Sales Team Leader, Lisa Corcoran. “I’ve had different people in my life who’ve had mental health challenges,” Lisa says. In hindsight, she says, with both maturity and the skills she learned from the MHFA course, there are things she’d do differently to support these people.
“I’d be more candid and direct in the conversations I had with these people when addressing the issue. Not forceful and declaring ultimatums, but openly discussing it,” she says.
“I would also seek professional assistance sooner than I did – it might have changed the outcome in some cases.”
Lisa says the program, which was challenging and confronting at times, has boosted her confidence in how to support someone experiencing a mental health issue.
Another Toll employee who has completed the program is PM Depot Supervisor David Abraham.
“One of the key things I learned is just starting the conversation to see if someone needs help.”
David says he has already put his learning into practice, asking a colleague if he was ok.
“Asking the question also let that person know there’s someone from the leadership team who does notice and does care, and that increases morale and motivation across the team.”
MHFA is currently available in Australia but we are working with the international MHFA organisations as well as MHFA International to extend the program across the whole group.