Justin Scanlon – Founder Hearth Support Services
Health First Aid Training” A Top Priority at Hearth!
When I founded Hearth Support Services in August 2017, I was
very concerned about the physical wellbeing of the Hearth Support Workers and
the entire Hearth team.
Three years down the track, employee physical wellbeing is
always top of mind, but what I have come to realise is employee mental
health is even more important.
I believe most at risk of mental health issues are Support Workers. This is can be attributed to.
What Is Hearth Doing About Employee Mental Health?
Our first response to employee mental health back in 2018 was
to provide professional employee assistance (EAP) to all employees. This
program gives the employee the option of undertaking up to three anonymous face
to face professional counselling sessions at no cost to the employee.
We thought we could do more, so in addition to EAP our second initiative in 2019 was to embrace “Mental Health First Aid Training”. Mental Health First Aid Training teaches members of the public how to help a person developing a mental health problem (including a substance use problem), experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. Like traditional first aid, Mental Health First Aid does not teach people to treat or diagnose mental health or substance use conditions. Instead, the training teaches people how to offer initial support until appropriate professional help is received or until the crisis resolves.
Our approach to Mental Health First Aid Training was for one of the Hearth Team to become an “Accredited Mental Health First Aid Trainer” so that they in turn could train the entire Hearth team on Mental Health First Aid. Madi Braim General Manager – Inner, Outer East & Bayside Melbourne volunteered to undertake the training in 2019 so she could add this to her list of accomplishments. So far in 2020 Madi has been able to train our entire team of Relationship Managers. The next step is to roll out the training to lead Support Workers which we hope to complete by the end of 2020.
Mental Health in Australia
The statistics surrounding mental health in Australia are
quite shocking i.e.
“Almost half of all Australians aged 16 to 85 years
— 7.3 million people — will experience mental illness at some point
in their life. The most common conditions are:
Source; Australian Government Department of Health
I believe that Mental Health First Aid Training is
essential, so essential that eventually Mental Health First Aid training will
one day be mandated for all NDIS Support Workers. In the meantime, at Hearth we
always strive to put the wellbeing of its employees and participants as its
number one priority, and as such, have included Mental Health First Aid
training as part of its standard practice.
The latest innovation we are working with, that is introducing
a process of “reflective practice” into Hearth, for the Relationship
Managers and Support Workers, facilitated by a leading psychologist.