Introducing our Peer Support Network
In 2018 MCEC introduced the Peer Support Network, which involved 30 employees across a range of levels and departments, undertaking mental health first aid training.
MCEC engaged Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), an accredited external provider to provide the training and at the completion of a two day course, participants graduated with an accreditation in mental health first aid.The initiative is organisational-wide and available to all MCEC employees.
MHFA courses provide members of the Peer support Program with:
• Skills in how to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health problems.
• Knowledge of the possible risk factors for these mental health problems.
• Awareness of the evidenced based medical, psychological and alternative treatments available.
• Skills in how to give appropriate initial help and support someone experiencing a mental health problem.
• Skills in how to take appropriate action if a crisis situation arises involving suicidal behavior, panic attack, stress reaction to trauma, overdose or threatening psychotic behavior.
The 30 employees appointed as Peer Support Officers within the organisation provide front line support. Trained peers are highly valued by colleagues in that they understand the work culture, are easily accessible, and can provide confidential support in a variety of circumstances. Peers are often the first to notice subtle changes in a colleague’s behaviour or demeanour and can respectfully inquire about the colleague’s wellbeing in a low-key manner that is not intrusive.
Peer support programs require a long-term commitment but benefit the organisation in many ways in that they:
• help to foster employee engagement
• can increase resiliency in colleagues
• broaden the organisations ability to maintain employee well-being
• reduce the stigma of seeking help when needed; and
• encourage self-care.
Operations Manager, Chantal Trimboli said she was proud to be part of the program:
“Sometimes people need to know that someone is there for them, whether they are seeking out assistance or just going about their daily tasks . I’m extremely proud to be a part of this network that encompasses such a diverse group of colleagues.”