Case Manager/Field Officer
MATES in Construction (NSW)
What are you/your organisation currently focussing on in terms of workplace health and wellbeing?
We are a charity formed by the construction industry for the industry to create community development in regards to mental health wellbeing, with a key focus on suicide prevention.
Within our small team of 5, due to the nature or our work, we support each other by debriefing, maintaining healthy self-care and have our own professional supervision.
What aspect of workplace health and wellbeing does your organisation do well in?
Promoting “mates helping mates”. Provide practical skills and resources to assist construction workers to help each other when life gets tough through our training program. We provide a 24/7 crisis helpline for construction workers and their families, we are not counsellors but provide case management.
What’s your biggest challenge working in workplace health and wellbeing?
Significant and secure funding is always a challenge. It would make sense to support an organisation that educates communities to know what to notice when someone they know is struggling in life, and how to get the help when needed. Whilst we do receive some Commonwealth government and industry funding, this is an ongoing challenge for MIC NSW. We need to expand our team but are unable to do so due to financial constraints.
How does WayAhead Workplaces add value to your organisations health and wellbeing program?
Networking. Many organisations, such as Sydney Trains and Woolworths have endorsed the MATES in Construction program into their own mental health wellbeing programs. In the future hopefully we will see more “MATES in …” for other industries. We have established a program that educates individuals to be able to help one another to reduce suicides. Studies have shown that it is making a difference in the industry.
How do you deal with stress?
Self-care, doing what works, i.e. exercise and gym classes, debriefing, sleeping and eating well, work flexibility (at times), attending professional supervision, having reliable support networks.
What are the key issues and considerations for people in workplace health and wellbeing roles?
Key issues faced is the balance of focus with management. In our industry, a lot of focus is placed on “getting the job finished” and unfortunately, this is driven by financial reasons. Safety is an important aspect obviously, but generally, the physical elements appear to be more of the focus then mental wellbeing of workers.
How do you switch off from work?
Go to the gym and workout. I have learnt to switch off each day, sometimes downloading with someone then moving on is all that is required.
What is your best time saving tip?
Not driving to the city office each day if it is not necessary. Our team tend to work a lot from home to save time and energy wading through Sydney traffic. Due to the nature of the work we travel a lot from site to site.
What do you think the future of work health and wellness programs look like?
There needs to be a shift on focussing mainly on the physical wellbeing of individuals for organisations and more focus on the mental and physical wellbeing holistically.