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CRANAplus' evolving Mental Health and Wellbeing service

8 Aug 2022

Executive Director, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Pamela Edwards, discusses the value of wellbeing workshops, the need to support the families of remote health workers, and new wellbeing resources you can expect soon.

The last 12 months have been sig­nif­i­cant for the Men­tal Health and Well­be­ing team, with over 57 Well­be­ing Work­shops deliv­ered to over 1,400 rur­al and remote health workers. 

In pro­vid­ing these work­shops, it is clear that par­tic­i­pants have appre­ci­at­ed 30 to 40 min­utes to reflect on their own well­be­ing and be remind­ed, even if for a short time, of the impor­tance of self-care and look­ing after themselves. 

Our ser­vice evo­lu­tion which began in July 2021 is com­plete and we con­tin­ue to look for oppor­tu­ni­ties and ini­tia­tives to meet the remote health workforce’s men­tal health and well­be­ing needs.

We have deliv­ered enhanced secu­ri­ty and record keep­ing sys­tems, poli­cies and pro­ce­dures in the back­ground, to ensure our ser­vices are con­tem­po­rary and align with best practice.

The most vis­i­ble of these is the Men­tal Health and Well­be­ing Pri­va­cy Pol­i­cy pub­lished on the CRANAplus web­site in April 2022. The Pol­i­cy describes how we col­lect, hold, use and dis­close your per­son­al infor­ma­tion and should be read togeth­er with our Men­tal Health and Well­be­ing Ser­vice Charter.

Bring­ing the team together

We wel­comed the oppor­tu­ni­ty for Bush Sup­port Line Ser­vice providers to come togeth­er in June 2022 for a two-day train­ing and pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment ses­sion. These providers are the incred­i­ble peo­ple who you will talk with if you ever call the Bush Sup­port Line.

This was the first chance for our ser­vice providers, who live and work across Aus­tralia, to meet face to face and share their knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence in sup­port­ing our rur­al and remote health work­force through our 24/7 tele­phone sup­port line.

I have worked and col­lab­o­rat­ed with the psy­chol­o­gists who ser­vice the Bush Sup­port Line now for over twelve months. I can con­fi­dent­ly say they are a pas­sion­ate group of indi­vid­u­als that bring con­sid­er­able knowl­edge, expe­ri­ence and an ongo­ing com­mit­ment to sup­port­ing the rur­al and remote health work­force and the chal­lenges they face. They have diverse expe­ri­ences in the sec­tor and use this expe­ri­ence to pro­vide a cru­cial and well-respect­ed service.

Dunkeld, Vic – Greg Brave – stock​.adobe​.com

Sup­port­ing families

There is a lot of evi­dence emerg­ing of the impact of the pan­dem­ic on health work­ers and the emo­tion­al toll of work­ing in health care, with rarely a moment to reflect on their experiences. 

Numer­ous fac­tors con­tribute to ele­vat­ed stress among health care work­ers, includ­ing heavy work­loads, long shifts, a high pace, lack of phys­i­cal or psy­cho­log­i­cal safe­ty, chronic­i­ty of care, moral con­flicts and work-place relat­ed bul­ly­ing or lack of social support.

There is less evi­dence avail­able on the impact on health work­ers’ fam­i­lies. The Bush Sup­port Line is avail­able to part­ners, par­ents, adult chil­dren or those who sup­port health work­ers con­tin­u­ing their vital work in our rur­al and remote communities. 

So, remem­ber the num­ber (1800 805 391) and share with your fam­i­ly. Con­tact us for some resources (pens, notepads) that can be tak­en home or left in places fam­i­ly mem­bers can see. Fam­i­ly mem­bers may not be expe­ri­enc­ing the same stres­sors as direct­ly as the health work­ers are, but everyone’s emo­tion­al health can be adverse­ly impacted.

Fam­i­ly mem­bers might ben­e­fit from talk­ing to some­one that under­stands and can help them nav­i­gate the chal­lenges, pro­vide sup­port and per­haps work on strate­gies to include self-care for all the fam­i­ly, ensur­ing well­be­ing is fac­tored into the dai­ly routine.

Our Self-Care mag­net is designed to sup­port health work­ers imple­ment strate­gies to look after their well­be­ing, and is avail­able for order here or via email to wellbeing@​crana.​org.​au.

CRANAplus Men­tal Health and Well­be­ing resources

New well­be­ing resources

CRANAplus has recent­ly joined the Safe­Side com­mu­ni­ty which offers a best prac­tice and evi­dence-based approach to sui­cide prevention. 

The Bush Sup­port Line is not intend­ed as a cri­sis inter­ven­tion ser­vice, and there­fore we are not often respond­ing to those in crisis. 

How­ev­er, CRANAplus and its Men­tal Health and Well­be­ing Depart­ment are com­mit­ted as a health-relat­ed organ­i­sa­tion to ensure we oper­ate with con­tem­po­rary knowl­edge and best prac­tice in this area. We have recent­ly released the Crit­i­cal Con­ver­sa­tions eLearn­ing course to sup­port those work­ing in rur­al and remote com­mu­ni­ties to feel more con­fi­dent in talk­ing to indi­vid­u­als in cri­sis, whether as a health work­er or in their per­son­al life.

The Men­tal Health and Well­be­ing team are devel­op­ing new con­tent and resources in our new Well­be­ing for the Bush’ series. The lat­est release is a pod­cast about Sleep, one of the pil­lars of well­be­ing and some­thing we often overlook.

We are also look­ing at deliv­er­ing our resources in a more sus­tain­able way and pro­vid­ing elec­tron­ic copies of our key resources on USB, along with our pop­u­lar ground­ing and relax­ation exer­cis­es, ready to view any­where with­out the need for inter­net connectivity.

We are real­ly look­ing for­ward to pro­vid­ing a Well­be­ing Space at the upcom­ing CRANAplus Con­fer­ence, 4 – 6 Octo­ber 2022, in Adelaide.

If you’re attend­ing the CRANAplus 2022 Con­fer­ence be sure to check out the Well­be­ing Space, and say hel­lo to the Men­tal Health and Well­be­ing team. To learn more about our ser­vice vis­it CRANAplus Men­tal Health and Well­be­ing sup­port.

Ref­er­ences

  1. Green­berg, N., Docher­ty, M., Gnanapra­gasam, S., & Wes­se­ly, S. (2020). Man­ag­ing men­tal health chal­lenges faced by health care work­ers dur­ing covid-19 pan­dem­ic. bmj, 368.
  2. Flana­gan E, Chad­wick R, Goodrich J, Ford C, Wick­ens R. Reflec­tion for all health care staff: a nation­al eval­u­a­tion of Schwartz rounds. 
  3. J Inter­prof Care 2020;34:140 – 2. doi:10.1080/ 13561820.2019.1636008 pmid:31390225