News - Supporting the mental health of our teams
8 January 2019 Read in 4 minutes

Supporting the mental health of our teams

Key highlights
  • 45% of Australians aged between 16 and 85 will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives
  • Up to 50% of employees with a mental health problem won’t disclose it
  • Ventia are proud to have several initiatives in place that support the mental health of our teams 

Some of the team supporting the Mates in Construction program

During Mental Health Awareness Week our teams reflected on how providing a healthy and safe workplace benefits everyone. 

With research showing that around 45% of Australians aged between 16 and 85 will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives, and that up to 50% of employees with a mental health problem won’t disclose it, it is important for organisations to ensure their people are aware of potential issues at work. 

We’re proud to have several initiatives in place that support the mental health of our teams across our business.

Mental health awareness training for leaders

To help our leaders assist and support their teams, we recently ran a series of training sessions on Mental Health Awareness for Leaders. The four-hour sessions were led by qualified counselors from our EAP provider, Assure and encouraged participation and input from those attending. 

Feedback from attendees included:

“This was a great session and a must for as many people as possible to attend.”  

“I found it to be a very enjoyable and informative session. The stats surrounding those directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues during their lifetime were astounding...the facilitator clearly expressed ways to address identified issues with any affected team members.”

“I am sure everyone found it as rewarding as I did.”

Building relationships with support organisations

Our Transport and Transmission & Distribution businesses have established relationships with leading industry suicide prevention organisation Mates in Construction (MIC). This charitable organisation is focused on raising awareness, building capacity, providing help and delivering practical programs such as the Life Skills Tool Box, MATES in Construction programs, SafeTALK, ASIST, and Staying Connected. 

MIC delivers its training programs at worksites to show teams know how to access help and that the help offered is practical, professional and appropriate.
 
Our VBAJV team working on the Road Asset Management Contract in Brisbane first engaged with MIC in March 2017. Since then, the JV has conducted several MIC workshops and was accredited in June 2017. 

Accreditation is awarded to those teams or organisations who have had at least 80% of their workforce undertake general awareness training. 
Senior SHEQ advisor for the team, Kimi Upu, says that following an initial round of suicide awareness training sessions, there was an opportunity for staff to undergo ‘Connector’ training. 

“A connector is someone trained to help keep someone in crisis safe, while also connecting them to professional help,” says Kimi. 
“We currently have 10 staff trained as Connectors, and another 14 who will go through the training in early 2019.”

Our M5 East team in Sydney’s south has also received MIC accreditation. 

M5 East Operations and Maintenance Manager, Nadir Hashmi says that he was very proud to be involved in this program, with a number of their team now trained as Connectors as well as completing the ASIST course. 

ASIST equips individuals to become an ASIST worker - their role is to talk to a person contemplating suicide with the object of making that person feel ‘safe’. Using simple skills, an ASIST worker will listen to the person’s concerns and respond to them appropriately, with the object of reaching a ‘contract’ or a ‘safe plan’ for the worker. 

“All of us on the M5 East contract team believe this training is invaluable,” Nadir says. 

“The passion that the team at MIC have around ensuring that suicide prevention is everyone’s business is inspiring.  If the building and construction industry in Australia is to improve the mental health and wellbeing of workers and reduce suicide rates, we can’t leave things to the mental health professionals, we all need to play our part.”

We’re all very proud of the work our people do every day to support their mates.

To read more about Mates in Construction, visit www.matesinconstruction.org.au/about

A Mates in Construction awareness campaign out on site