Soroosh and his family

Over the past 18 months, many office-based employees have transitioned to working from home more or less full time, particularly in locations which have been in and out of lockdown. This has potentially added a new layer of challenges to working parents who have found they have had to juggle a demanding job and new ways of working - we're all now Microsoft Teams experts - with childcare. 

Soroosh Mirzaee is a Quality Advisor for our Defence and Social Infrastructure sector, working with local government contracts in NSW, Victoria and New Zealand. 

Joining the business in March, it didn't take long before he also put his hand up for Ventia's Healthy Minds Champion program. 

"I have long had an interest in mental health and psychology," Soroosh says. "I've recently been reading a book about why we feel stress and anxiety and the evolutionary reasons for it." 

Soroosh says that one thing he's learned through this is that anxiety is his body's way of dealing with what his mind is saying is a stressful or negative event. 

I think it's important to focus on the things that are in your control, especially right now.

"And it's important to consider all your options, speak to a professional or seek medical help if that's what you need."

As a Champion, Soroosh underwent training along with 120 of his colleagues across Australia and New Zealand, which helps Champions understand what to look out for and how to support their colleagues who may need someone to talk to or advice on where to go for help.

Whilst working from home can make it harder for people to reach out for a chat or support, it's never been more important, Soroosh says. 

Soroosh and his wife Mary have a young daughter, Hannah, who hasn't been able to attend childcare for the past few months. So like many of his colleagues, he and Mary accommodate childcare with their work schedules. 

He recognises this can put additional stress on couples and also on single parents. But as he says, focus on what you can control and recognise that it's ok to feel anxious. 

If someone wants someone to listen to them, I am here.

RUOK? Day is recognised on 9 September 2021. Check in on the people in your world; a conversation can save a life.