Port Stephens Council’s innovative approach to mental health wins award

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PORT Stephens Council has taken out the award for ‘Best Work Health and Safety Improvement (Large Organisation)’ at the 2018 Hunter Safety Awards for its leading workplace mental health program.

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The program was developed in response to a review of Council’s existing mental health procedure, with an aim to reduce stigma, get people talking and provide high-quality support to workers experiencing mental health issues.

Nicole Le Grange, Council’s Work Health and Safety Manager, says it’s an incredible achievement for Council to be recognised for its progressive approach to mental health.

“Usually when people think about Work Health and Safety, they think of hard hats and hi-vis. At Port Stephens Council, we’ve moved beyond the physical to think about our workers’ overall health.

“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.

Ms Le Grange said this award win brings Council’s total to six safety-related awards in as many years.

“It’s wonderful to be recognised as a leader in the WHS space, but what’s really gratifying is the real and lasting changes we’ve been able to implement in our workplace.

“We set out to get people talking and 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.

The awards were announced on Friday 16 March and recognised companies and individuals in the Hunter region who demonstrated best-practice and innovative approaches in workplace health and safety.

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