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