26 September 2023

Peers to destress in high-stress jobs

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The Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) is rolling out a program currently in use across the State’s Public Sector to provide emotional and practical support in high-stress areas.

Praising the benefits of the Peer Support Officer Program, CALHN said the Program had initially been rolled out with 18 officers within the Clinical Care and Perioperative team at both the Royal Adelaide Hospital and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The Network said the Program saw trained peers with similar experiences support colleagues both emotionally and practically.

Peer Support Officers can provide employees with a supportive, non-judgemental, and confidential ear when they feel at their most vulnerable and need to talk,” CALHN said.

“They can be used together with support from managers, Workforce and other services,” it said.

“To become an officer, employees undergo training such as Mental Health First Aid and the Foundations in Peer Support online module.

“This module covers topics including active listening, how to have a difficult conversation and assessing risk.”

CALHN said the Program was important in helping to assist a labour force that worked in a dynamic, technical and stressful environment.

“[Staff] often meet people experiencing incredible distress and trauma, and it’s a very emotional and physically taxing area to work,” it said.

The Network said it was pivotal for staff’s mental and physical health to have workplace support.

It said the Program was supported by a larger group of wellbeing champions, many of whom had completed training as Mental Health First Aid Officers or were actively involved and invested in the wellbeing of their colleagues.

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