2021 World Mental Health Month

Female carer puts her arm on the shoulder of an elderly man to show supportLooking after our wellbeing so we can care for others

Mental Health Month is held annually, coinciding this year with World Mental Health Day on October 10. The theme for 2021 is ‘Tune In’ – to build awareness around this important topic.

Every year one in five Australians experiences a mental health issue. And 45% of the national population will be diagnosed with a mental health condition in their lifetime.

This can touch any of us: a loved one, friend, colleague or neighbour. Against the backdrop of the global pandemic, Mental Health Month is a timely reminder to prioritise our own wellbeing so that we can continue to care for others.

“We invest in the spiritual and emotional support of our staff by building relationships," says Steve Calder, HammondCare’s General Manager of Pastoral Care. "Embedded in our Model of Care, it forms part of our Mission in Action Statement – communicating and sharing responsibility for our wellbeing.

"Two main strategies support the mental wellbeing of our staff: the first is pastoral care support. This is available in-person each day when pastoral care coordinators are at work in our offices, hospitals and care homes. But it is also available at other times via our 1800 helpline. The second strategy is access to our Employee Assistance Program, which offers confidential counselling, coaching and support for workplace and personal issues.

"We are also currently researching new opportunities to further enhance staff support.”

HammondCare College’s Head of Learning, Juliet Kelly, and her team have initiated a wellbeing session for staff in October. The session is being run online, enabling remote access for employees and volunteers across the country.

“In the session we’ll be looking at some of the emotional challenges faced by our teams in the health and community sector and providing wellbeing tips that could be integrated into our daily life. There will also be discussions around prioritising our mental health.

"We’ve also developed a series of eLearning modules that focus on supporting people living with specific mental health conditions, such as anxiety and mood disorders. We will be launching the modules as part of Mental Health Month.

"Through providing our staff and volunteers with the tools and an awareness to prioritise self-care, we are supporting them to continue our Mission of improving the quality of life for those we serve.”