Goodstart launches team focussed mental health support program

by Jason Roberts

March 28, 2019

A mental health and wellbeing program, facilitated by private health fund BUPA, will be rolled out to all Goodstart Early Learning centre directors, specialist support teams and area managers in the coming months.

 

The Mental Health First Aid course, is designed to ensure Goodstart’s leaders have the skills and experience to successfully manage their teams and provide help and support to their employees and families.

 

Commenting on the launch Kylie Warren-Wright, Goodstart’s National Safe Work and Wellbeing Manager,  said “These courses encourage the important conversation around mental health and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of this as this qualification gets delivered.,”

 

The course roll out will be completed in the next 6 to 8 months with the expectation that on completion Goodstart will be eligible for certification with the Mental Health Association of Australia as a skilled workplace.

 

The Mental Health Association of Australia, established in 1997,  is the peak national non government organisation representing the interests of the Australian mental health sector and is committed to achieving better mental health outcomes for all Australians.

 

First launched in 2000 to help improve mental health literacy, The Mental Health First Aid Skilled Workplace Program celebrates organisations across Australia who not only invest in developing mental health first aid skills in their people, but also show a strong commitment to embedding the program into their organisation’s culture; through actions like senior leadership support, relevant policies, supporting Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Officers and continuous improvement.

 

The program has now been widely adopted across Australia and also internationally with 25 countries having licensed and adapted the MHFA Australia program.

 

Western Australia was the first state in the Goodstart network to pilot the course with team members already reporting positive results.

 

Goodstart Mindarie centre director Ashleigh Bligh said her training has helped her reach out to a parent at her centre, allowing her to set up a support network to help.

 

“A parent opened up to me in the office and we had a huge chat together. I created a support network for her with contact details of places in Western Australia, along with the support within the centre at any time.”

 

Pilots in other states have also had an immediate impact.

 

Brittany Patford, centre director at Goodstart Bentleigh East – South Road has come to understand that overall mental health and wellbeing was something families needed help with, and Goodstart Clayfield centre director Emma Bowles noted that the program helped her understand that there is a difference between mental health and mental illness.  Ms Bowles added that there are times when it’s appropriate to refer people on to other support groups, but also that the program enabled her to discuss issues and topics with her fellow educators that she may not normally have addressed.

 

For more information on the The Mental Health First Aid Skilled Workplace Program please click here.

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