Benefits of MHFA on RU OK? Day

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AWN was recently invited by Stockland Group to talk about our Mental Health initiatives at a special RU OK? promotional event staged on Thursday 8 September 2022.

Stockland Corporation Limited’s Stockland Care Foundation invited tenants at their Yennora Distribution Centre to celebrate National RU OK? Day, in recognition of the vital role that mental health plays in the transport and logistics industry, a sector which Stockland acknowledges is currently facing a mental health crisis.

Monash University conducted Australia’s largest survey of truck drivers and found half of all truckies suffered psychological distress, with suicide the second leading cause of death for truck drivers under the age of 39. Risk factors such as long hours, workplace isolation, pressure to meet delivery schedules and the need for continual alertness while operating heavy machinery all contribute to making those in the industry extremely vulnerable to mental health issues.

AWN’s MHFA program is helping us break down the stigma attached to mental illness and is actively promoting mental health and wellbeing awareness.

Many of these risk factors apply equally to the farming community, which must also grapple with the added uncertainty of weather events, exposure to commodity markets and the effects of geopolitical instability.

Harry Petropoulos (AWN General Manager – People & Culture) was a guest speaker at Stockland’s Yennora Distribution Centre on R U OK? Day

The impact of mental health and poor individual wellbeing has not only significant impact at the individual level, but also company and economy wide.

It’s been demonstrated that companies who do invest in good mental health initiatives receive positive returns such as improved productivity, reduced sick leave and overall healthier longer-serving employees.

RUOK Day is a National Day of Action, to remind us to start meaningful conversations every day to support those around us through life’s ups and downs.

The real power of R U OK day is that it forces us to think a little deeper by asking ourselves the question: ‘Do I know how well my family, friends, neighbours, and work colleagues are really doing?’

Sometimes, the hardest part of these conversations can be the start, so this year’s theme is ‘No qualifications needed’ – i.e., you don’t need to be a mental health practitioner to ask someone ‘RUOK’. You just need to give your full attention, and show that you care, and this simple act can make a world of difference to someone struggling with their mental health

At AWN, we’ve gone the extra step in destigmatising mental illness and ensuring our workforce is comfortable to have mental health conversations by offering all employees the opportunity to become mental health first aiders.

To date, we have 60 certified mental health first aiders deployed across Australia with more in the pipeline for 2023. We have also extended the program to our clients– i.e., farmers.

The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program does not offer training in diagnosis or therapy – it just empowers and emboldens people to ask the RU OK question, and better equips them to handle the answer if it’s ‘No’

For the team at AWN, every day is an opportunity to check-in with someone and ask RU OK?

AWN’s MHFA program is helping us break down the stigma attached to mental illness and is actively promoting mental health and wellbeing awareness.

Stockland staff wore RUOK bright yellow shirts on the day and greeted tenants and their employees at the site’s café with RUOK Day themed cupcakes

and sandwiches while the café served free refreshments.

AWN’s Chair – John Maher, Rick Maybury (Chief Operating Officer) and a number of AWN’s Yennora team attended the event.

Thanks to Robert Salerno, Head of Property / Asset Management Workplace & Logistics and Rachael Bowker, Senior Asset Manager – NSW and the Stockland Team for staging this important event.

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Talk to one of our experienced wool or livestock professionals for more information.