PORT Stephens Council has been named a finalist in the 2018 Hunter Safety Awards for its leading workplace mental health program, which aims to reduce stigma and provide better support for workers who are experiencing mental health issues.
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The awards recognise companies and individuals in the Hunter region who are demonstrating best-practice and innovative approaches in workplace health and safety.
Nicole Le Grange, Council’s Work Health and Safety Manager, says it’s an honour to have Port Stephens Council’s strong commitment to mental health acknowledged.
“We want to send our workers home in the same or better condition than how they came to work – and that goes for mental health just as much as physical health,” Ms Le Grange said.
“We saw an opportunity to improve how mental health is identified, approached, managed and followed up in the workplace.
“Along with a new procedure, we rolled out mental health awareness training for our entire workforce, including comprehensive training for managers.
“We also introduced Mental Health Contact Officers, trained volunteers who are there to listen and direct people to where they can seek professional advice,” she added.
Ms Le Grange says the program had immediate benefits for the entire workforce.
“What we really wanted was to get people talking and to reduce the stigma that so often comes with mental health, and I think we’ve been able to achieve that.
“But the job isn’t over – we’ll continually work to ensure that Council provides a platform for consistent and high quality management of mental health in our workplace,” she said.