eap blog banner

Welcome to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Dedicated Support Line

Welcome to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Dedicated Support Line: part of your EAP, provided by your employer and delivered by Newport & Wildman.

Facilitating a culturally safe experience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People is the purpose of this dedicated Support Line. We recognise a need to offer the opportunity to speak with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Counsellor or a Culturally Sensitive Counsellor who has experience with individual, families and community and who understand the challenges you may face. By working together we aim to find the most appropriate support for you. Referral to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services can also be arranged.

Support when you need it: 24/7 365 days.

Our Client Services Team members are available to speak with you. Please call to make an appointment between EST 8am - 6pm Monday to Friday or outside these hours for urgent requests.

At Newport & Wildman our Cultural Wellbeing Team includes both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Counsellors and Culturally Sensitive Counsellors. If appropriate our Cultural Co-Ordinator is able to assess and understand any individual circumstances and will work with you to identify the most culturally safe options for you or your organisation.

Together we find ways to provide culturally appropriate support that works for you, sharing knowledge in a respectful, confidential and safe space. Having a chat can help with the day to day challenges at home or in the workplace such as;

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Grief and Loss
  • Dependency Issues
  • Financial
  • Diet
  • Family/relationships

"keeping the spirit strong through strengthening social and emotional wellbeing"

This dedicated Support Line provides a culturally sensitive way for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to access mental health and wellbeing support.

How to contact Newport & Wildman
Whatever the nature of your concern please feel free to call the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Dedicated Support Line on: 1800 861 085

Newport & Wildman employees begin their journey to cultural competency by completing Arrilla Cultural Competency Training. We are committed to ensuring the best experience for all our clients.

Australian Aboriginal Flag     Flag of the Torres Strait Islanders

Newport & Wildman acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we work on and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.

Navigating Conflict

It’s tough to always be your best. Now more than ever the challenge to constantly be our best as leaders, lead with kindness, empathy and respect and respond in ways that support others can tax even the most resilient of us. It’s easy when emotions are heightened to react in ways we usually wouldn’t, as we have a million different things running around our heads. It’s easy to say something that might be misinterpreted or rub someone up the wrong way. It’s equally as easy to interpret something in a way that wasn’t intended. Conflict is a normal part of life, and very often a catalyst for positive change. It is also part of being human.

This week we’re turning our spotlight onto conflict.

How can we harness conflict and foster positive outcomes? Our clinical data shows an increase in conflict – at home, at work and in the community. It’s completely understandable as many people across Australia and New Zealand have had their lives and workspaces closed, changed completely or even remain open serving the public throughout the pandemic. Some people report feeling burnt out or struggling to keep their emotional balance. Some of us desperately want our lives or daily routine back to return to normal. Conflict can often be found during times of change.

How can you harness conflict in positive ways? How we, as leaders, respond to conflict is critical to supporting your people and their responses to conflict. We've created new Tips and Tools on Navigating Conflict. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website.

Navigating conflict can be challenging. We are here to support you through this. Reach out to here at Newport & Wildman. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

Let's talk R U OK? Day

RUOK Banner Web 2

Learn how a conversation can change a life

Thursday, 10th September is R U OK? Day and Newport & Wildman would like to support you and your people to feel confident asking “R U OK?”. 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, and this year we are focused on helping people have these conversations and feel confident to respond if someone says they are not OK.

A common theme for many people this year has been isolation. It’s unfortunate that one of our best weapons against COVID-19 is something that can negatively impact on mental health and wellbeing. This year we would encourage you to consider the benefits of bringing people together for R U OK? Day. Examples could include our virtual group training session, a virtual morning tea or a lunch and learn session using our Webinar.

R U OK? Day is often the busiest day of the year for us here at Newport & Wildman! Given the challenges we are facing, we expect this year to be the same. Reach out today to discuss how we can support you and your people.


R U OK? inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and start a conversation with anyone who may be struggling with life.
For more information about R U OK? visit their website ruok.org.au.

Support for teens going back to school after isolation

While many lives have been put on hold due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, some argue that certain groups have been affected by the loss of physical contact more than others. Teenage years are characterised by rapid learning, risk-taking, building relationships and establishing a sense of self. Having to spend more time than usual in the family home can cause added tension with fewer outlets for release. With many high schools around the country returning to the classroom, there is some sense of normality being restored; however, for tertiary education students, the path back to campus is still unclear. 

As parents, it is important than ever to keep the lines of communication open; We are witnessing an exponential increase in mental health issues among teens. So how can we support teens to proactively manage stress through these tumultuous times?

Good sleep

Poor sleep often accompanies stressful times. Teenagers experiencing stress might lie awake worrying at night and be too tired to function well the next day. This can set up a poor sleep pattern. The Sleep Health Foundation recommends these tips to help your child establish healthy sleeping patterns: avoid screen time an hour before bed and encourage reading or listening to relaxing music instead to help wind down; support your teen to establish and stick to a routine around bed and wake-up times; encourage them to get around 7.5 hours of sleep per night, which is the optimum amount of time for teenagers. Read more here.

Keep active

There is plenty of evidence on the benefits of exercise in reducing stress. Exercise stimulates the release of dopamine, a feel-good hormone that helps to alleviate feelings of stress. Other benefits of exercise include improved concentration and opportunities for social interaction. Be ready to try something new to you both – perhaps paddle boarding or roller-skating – you could have a good laugh! There are also apps that provide exercise stats and can be linked in with friends to help motivate each other.

Food and mood

It is now very well established that food impacts mood - what your teen eats plays a role in their ability to cope with stress. Eating well will help ensure your teen stays healthy and has the resilience and energy they need to deal with stressful situations. Highly processed foods contribute little nutrition to the diet and deplete the body of vitamins and minerals during digestion. Encouraging your child to eat whole foods can give them the energy required for the developmental years of adolescence, boost their nutrient stores for times of stress and keep them well generally. Planning the weekly menu and cooking together can be fun and encourages them to take responsibility for their health with your guidance. Read more detail here.

Social connection

This is one of the most important protective factors through adolescence. This period of development is hallmarked by the quest to find a tribe, and in today’s technology age, this invariably includes online as well as face-to-face friends. Friendships can be fraught with struggles, and a non-judgemental listening ear can help a teen to navigate these issues successfully, learning some skills for life. Without social distancing, teenagers can feel lonely and isolated for a range of reasons, and being able to connect anonymously with people online can be a great source of comfort and support. This raises a lot of fear and trepidation for parents. Still, if carefully monitored with safety at the heart of your conversations with your teen, online friendship can help to mitigate anxiety and loneliness. If you require support with this issue, Newport & Wildman is here to support you and/or your teen to manage relationships well.

Managing social media consumption

A lot of parents feel that technology, particularly social media is a modern-day scourge; however, the evidence is showing that as with food consumption, in moderation and with exposure to helpful sites - technology can be a positive influence in the lives of our teens. A recent study found that, with the exception of cyberbullying, sleep and exercise have been found to be more critical markers, than social media exposure, for adolescent wellbeing. Modelling healthy digital attitudes and behaviours as parents is very important, and it helps if rules in the family apply to everyone – not just the teens. A family “digital detox for a day” goes a long way!

Resources and support for you and your teen going back to school

Reach out, don’t bail out is a catchphrase used by Reachout.com – an excellent online resource for young people and parents. Evidence tells us that our teens generally feel more comfortable accessing support online rather than face-to-face; hence, the establishment of websites such as Reachout.com and online counselling with, for example, eHeadspace and Newport & Wildman.

Your EAP generally provides support for family members, which includes counselling for teenagers, nutrition consultation, financial and career counselling. Read more on the Newport & Wildman website here.

Covid-19 Resources

During this unprecedented and rapidly changing set of circumstances, we all find ourselves in, our National Clinical and Organisational Development teams are creating a growing resource bank of tools for you and your people. This includes tools on how to support your people who may find themselves now working remotely due to social distancing requirements. It also includes tools to share with your people on how they can manage their own anxiety, support for parents and support for managing relationships. These resources can be accessed through the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website.

Access the Employer Login Area here
Access the Employee Login Area here

 For more information and updates, see our previous blog posts on this topic:

If you have any further questions or would like to discuss specific requirements on how Newport & Wildman can assist your organisation and your people please contact your dedicated Relationship Director or the Manager Support Hotline. As always, as your EAP we are here to support your people whatever the nature of their concerns, please contact Newport & Wildman on 1800 650 204.

Covid-19 Update - Support for your people

Newport & Wildman has continued to monitor the ongoing advice from the Commonwealth Department of Health and World Health Organisation to plan and manage responses to Covid-19. We are now experiencing the impact of infection here in Australia. We’ve had a number of people, our own included, ask for advice and support on how to manage individual, team and organisations in the current situation. As a result of these requests, we wanted to share examples of how we have approached this with our own people as it is an evolving situation we are all experiencing together, the scale of which we have not previously encountered. We believe it is important that we have a conversation and learn from each other.

Encompassing Newport & Wildman, AccessEAP has a Business Continuity Plan to ensure our ongoing operations and ability to support customers and their people during times of crisis. In addition to our Business Continuity Plan (BCP), AccessEAP has a Multiple Customer Support Plan. We have extended our BCP and created a specific Covid-19 plan based on the Commonwealth Government advice and risk levels. As a leadership team and organisation, these plans allow us to have clear, thoughtful discussions to manage how we can continue to provide support to our people and our customers. We’ve incorporated official WHO and Commonwealth Government advisory notes around general and personal hygiene strategies in our communication to our people. What we have learned in providing support to our own people is they need calm leaders focused on supporting them during what is an anxious time. We know from our experience that they can feel reassured when we communicate with them about how we are proactively managing risks to them and their wellbeing. We are putting their safety first.

We believe it is critical to remain abreast of current events, which we do by monitoring official government advisory releases and reputable news sources. We know from experience exposure to sensationalised, highly emotive media sources can directly impact the psychological health of individuals, and therefore their teams and organisations. This can be further compounded by exposure to social media, which does not always distribute correct information which can further exacerbate heightened feelings of anxiety and confusion. How have we addressed this with our own people? AccessEAP CEO Sally Kirkright has shared her own self-care strategy in an internal newsletter - selectively curate and choose what information to let in, reduce exposure to mainstream news coverage and focus efforts on supporting her own emotional resilience. We have encouraged conversations at work for our people to discuss how they are feeling and to reflect on and share their own strategies for managing their individual resilience, and through this to provide support to each other. We encourage you to have these discussions with your people.

If you have any further questions or would like to discuss specific requirements on how Newport & Wildman can assist your organisation and your people please contact the Relationship Director or the Manager Support Hotline. As always, as your EAP we are here to support your people whatever the nature of their concerns, please contact Newport & Wildman on 1800 650 204.

 

Previous blog posts on this topic:https://www.newportwildman.com.au/resources/eap-blog/coronavirus

https://www.newportwildman.com.au/resources/eap-blog/covid-19-response-and-being-prepared

Covid-19 response and being prepared

The Australian government has moved ahead of the World Health Organisation to introduce the first phase of the country’s emergency response plan preempting the elevation of coronavirus to pandemic status. Prime Minister, Mr Morrison referred to the decision as “being taken in an abundance of caution”.

At Newport & Wildman, we continue to monitor government sources for updates and reinforce the measures we can all take to look after our people. What we are doing in response is to keep our people informed and clearly communicate that while the current risk is low for Australia, being prepared for a change in circumstances helps to maintain a sense of calm. These websites provide up to date and easy to follow information:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus-resources.aspx

Many of our organisations have already experienced having their people in a self-imposed work from home situation. It may be that your organisation will utilise work from home options further if required. If this is the case here are some factors to consider; feelings of connection may be strained and fear of illness and general anxiety may be increased as a result of COVID-19. Roles where travel and close contact with others is required may feel particularly impacted. There may be a greater reluctance to participate in face to face interactions, even with a counsellor. Phone, video chat and email counselling options are available and appointments can be made in exactly the same way as face to face sessions making support easy to access no matter the location.

If you have any further questions relating to how Newport & Wildman can assist your organisation please contact the Relationship Director or the Manager Support Hotline. As always, your EAP is here to support your people whatever the nature of their concerns, please contact Newport & Wildman on 1800 650 204.

Previous blog posts on this topic: https://newportwildman.com.au/resources/eap-blog/coronavirus

Coronavirus

The World Health Organisation has rated the Novel coronavirus as a world health emergency. The current risk to Australia is considered to be small. At Newport & Wildman we are assessing the risk to our people and will continue to monitor the situation and determine any actions we may need to take as a business. We are communicating this approach to our people so we are all aware that relevant precautions are being taken without causing undue alarm.

Ignorance and misinformation can lead to panic, fear and misunderstandings in situations such as these when personal safety is questioned. Clear and concise communication around risk mitigation based on information from official channels will assist in keeping people calm. For up to date and accurate information we are referring to The World Health Organization and NSW Health websites. These sites provide fact sheets and frequently asked questions in English and Mandarin to help individuals and organisations determine the level of risk associated with their everyday activities and interactions and modify behaviour as necessary. 

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus-resources.aspx

We encourage respect for each other in the workplace and close adherence to the normal policies around mitigating risks to co-workers associated with infectious diseases. It is very important that anyone with symptoms seek medical advice/attention. Australia has a very good health system and the Federal government is coordinating efforts around the country to contain the virus and support isolation of potential cases. It is also important not to make assumptions, particularly around who may carry the virus, it is advisable to adopt recommended hygiene practices and act on credible information. If you have any further questions relating to how Newport & Wildman can assist your organisation please contact the Relationship Director or the Manager Support Hotline. As always, your EAP is here to support your people whatever the nature of their concerns, please contact Newport & Wildman on 1800 650 204.

Support through a natural disaster

Australia is no stranger to natural disasters, e.g. bushfires, droughts, cyclones and floods. These events impact entire communities, including organisations, their employees and families. The disruption to daily life can be significant. People may be forced to evacuate their homes and workplaces leaving cherished possessions behind as they turn their focus to survival. It is common to experience a range of intense emotions following a traumatic event like a natural disaster. The immediate loss of control and personal safety is frightening and can lead to severe or acute shock, distress and anxiety. People who have faced potential loss, injury, or even death from natural disasters will experience a range of feelings immediately, weeks and even months later. The memories and associated fear that a similar event will reoccur can be long lasting.

For individuals, see our tips and strategies (download pdf here).

As a manager, there are a few things you can do to support your employees (download pdf here):

1. Normalise reactions: Accept that people will experience a range of emotions and that it is normal. Once the event is over it doesn't mean people's feelings go away. Acknowledge their feelings and reassure people that their intense feelings are normal given the disaster.

2. Try to keep calm and lift spirits through community involvement: Provide reassurance that "we will get through this together" and focus on the things that were managed well, e.g. the brave responses of emergency services. People feel united in the shared experience and can support and comfort each other. This connection and sense of helping is critical to coping.

3. Ask how you can help: Ask if there's anything that you can do to assist employees or if there is anything they need? e.g. flexible hours, transport or belongings.

4. Do not catastrophise: It is common to reflect on the "what ifs" or "what might have been". Do not speculate on how much worse it could have been. Avoid comparison of stories as each person has a right to their feelings.

5. Encourage people to talk about their experience because keeping it inside isn't helpful - avoid reassurances such as "it could have been worse". It's common for people to want to escape their reality, they may deny or withdraw. They may need to delay their emotional response while they focus on survival or practical things so check in regularly and gently.

6. Avoid probing questions: Curiosity is part of human nature. Asking people for the details of a traumatic experience may bring it back or trigger other emotions, wait until they are ready to share their story.

7. Encourage a familiar routine: Routine and normal day to day activities provide a sense of control and security, which is reassuring when a natural disaster has a significant effect on their lives.

8. Returning to work: Having a sense of purpose and connection is essential to recovery and often work provides this. Facilitate this process by offering options such as flexible hours. The recovery process takes time, and there are often ups and downs so plan for people to have setbacks. Each individual will be different and recover at their own pace.

As a trusted partner your EAP is here to help: Remind your employees about their confidential EAP service and let us help you support your people. For further guidance call our Manager Support Hotline on 1800 650 204.

Support through a tragic event

Traumatic events disrupt lives physically and psychologically, creating intense emotional distress for individuals, families and whole communities. Organisations play a vital and valuable role in assisting and supporting their employees and their families in the immediate aftermath and in the days, weeks and months following tragic events.

The immediate focus is to ensure that everyone is safe. At this present time, particularly with intense media coverage and access to information on the internet, it’s important to acknowledge that this is a heightened state of emotion for everyone involved. It’s important to be aware that everyone will respond differently and everyone’s needs will be different, initially and over time. Being prepared to provide initial and long term support for people will enhance and promote their own personal coping strategies and resilience.

Our Continued Support of the H.O.P.E. Program

Newport & Wildman is proudly part of AccessEAP. H.O.P.E. continues to be the main recipient of our charitable funding for vulnerable families and children. At AccessEAP we are very proud of the donation of more than $500,000 for HOPE and programs to support vulnerable families, which was announced last month. Our contribution has been able to grow substantially each year and AccessEAP would like to recognise the support of our customers in making this donation. Through partnering with AccessEAP, you not only support your employees’ wellbeing but you also directly contribute to our chosen welfare programs in Australia.

  

We are pleased and proud to report that over the past 12 months the H.O.P.E. Program continued to exceed targets and these are very special targets because they are about helping more mums and bubs. 

  HOPE 2

The H.O.P.E. Program can make the world of difference for the outcomes of children born into families where there is a history of complex childhood trauma, isolation and homelessness. This Case Study on Madison and Ethan brings the term “outcomes” to life.

Madison was referred to the H.O.P.E Program by a FACS Child Protection Case Worker in November 2018. Her son *Ethan was 10 months old.  

The initial referral raised concerns about Ethan’s wellbeing in relation to Madison “hanging out late at night” and leaving Ethan to be cared for by other people. Concerns were also raised about Madison’s drug use. Also, there had been a couple of incidents where the police had been called to the family due to domestic incidents between Madison and her mother.  

After the breakdown of her relationship with her mother, Madison and Ethan left her home and moved in with a friend. There had been past concerns about Madison’s mental health with respect to depression. The referral requested HOPE to focus support with Madison around her role as a mother, establishing routines and focusing on Ethan’s development. Madison was quite isolated so it was vital to assist her to strengthen her support network, through playgroups or daycare, and ensuring that Madison was engaged with the local Early Childhood Nurse (as Ethan was behind in his immunizations and concerns had been raised that he was not meeting his developmental milestones).  

Intervention:-  
  • Parenting support 

One-on-one casework focusing around Madison’s role as a mum. This has been in supporting her to implement eating and sleeping routines for Ethan. Madison was then connected to local community resources including a playgroup. Work has focused on strengthening her knowledge of child development, and also encouraging her to engage in educational play and developing his language skills.   

  • Emotional and physical health 

There had been some previous concern raised about Madison’s mental health. Discussions have taken place with respect to her mental health, and the possibility of any specialist therapeutic support if she felt that her mental health was declining. Her mental health will continually be monitored given the high-risk factors she has for postnatal depression, such as a history of depression, and a history of complex childhood trauma. 

  • Housing 

Currently, Madison’s housing situation is stable. Future accommodation options are being explored with Madison, and all support is given through advocacy to assist her in securing a property that meets her needs.  

  • Financial/employment 

Financially the family appear to be able to meet their weekly outgoings. Madison is receiving all entitled benefits and is enrolled in an online TAFE course - Cert III in Individual Support for Disability. She is hoping to continue with some form of study following the completion of this course.     

*Name has been changed

Support for those affected by the tragic events in Christchurch

Traumatic events such as the mass shootings in Christchurch disrupt lives physically and psychologically, creating intense emotional distress for individuals, families and whole communities. Organisations play a vital and valuable role in assisting and supporting their employees and their families in the immediate aftermath and in the days, weeks and months following this tragic event.


The immediate focus is to ensure that your employees and their loved ones are safe. At this present time, particularly with intense media coverage and access to information on the internet, it’s important to acknowledge that this is a heightened state of emotion for everyone involved. It’s important to be aware that everyone will respond differently and everyone’s needs will be different, initially and over time.  Being prepared to provide initial and long term support for people will enhance and promote their own personal coping strategies and resilience.

What your people will need right now is (download pdf version here):

  • If needed, allow additional time at home to spend time with family and friends - this helps them to feel safe and connected, and reassure others of their safety
  • Make sure your employees or students have access to support information and numbers - specifically the EAP and any other services you may have in place.
  • Give people assurance that affected families will be supported in some form or another.
This tragedy will have the potential to re-trigger feelings of trauma and loss and memories may surface. Over the coming weeks, it is important to reassure, support and connect with each other. Patience is required as everyone will feel and respond differently. People will need time, to acknowledge their responses and to process.

Over the coming days, and in time, what your people will need is for you to provide simple and accurate information on how to access services, specifically encourage, and make it easy for, employees/students to speak with a professional counsellor. Most people will not want to speak to a counsellor in the initial days or weeks as they support each other. It is in the longer term when people need support from a counsellor or their Employee Assistance Program.
  • Create an environment that allows people to talk amongst themselves about fears and hopes related to the tragic events. Openly sharing with others has been known to promote personal recovery. There is also comfort in a shared community supporting one another.
  • Be mindful and respectful of individual needs. Some people may feel uncomfortable or scared of sharing their feelings. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to feel.
  • There may be feelings of anger and hopelessness; there will intense feelings of anxiety and fear.
  • Establish an open door policy that allows people to seek the appropriate care when needed.
  • If possible and when appropriate try to establish normal routines as soon as possible.
  • Encourage people to communicate their needs, rather than assume you know what their needs may be.
  • Maintain communication if an employee or student is away for any length of time.

An incident of this nature has the power to entirely consume those involved, especially when it has an impact on one’s feeling of safety and one’s family. As leaders and managers it is within our control to provide support, reassurance and caring.

Please call our 24-hour line 1800 650 204

Alison Kelleher - Newport & Wildman, Director

Creating a thriving workplace this Feel Good February – Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

 At AccessEAP we love curiosity, being curious is one of our values and can really help to create a thriving workplace. This morning I received a card (like the one below) with an anonymous, personal message from one of my colleagues. Themed GLAD it highlighted four positive things about me. I must admit it not only made me feel good - it made me feel happy, proud, humble and overwhelmed – it brought a tear to my eye. It was a deeply emotional experience. Around our state offices these cards were being opened and experienced by all our people. I have included some of the reactions below and pictured are some smiling members of our Client Services Team!

This Feel Good February initiative was the work of our Wellbeing Champions. Informed by feedback from our Employee Engagement Surveys and as part of our internal wellbeing strategy we have recruited a team of Wellbeing Champions. These champions represent each of our divisions so bring a wealth of clinical, marketing, service, financial and management experience to the table. There brief is to implement initiatives which are valued and enhance the wellbeing of our people.

Each month the Wellbeing Champions work with their teams, creating initiatives to remind us to focus on our own mental health and wellbeing. Not every initiative will hit the mark and that’s OK but when they do they have a powerful, positive impact on mental health and workplace wellbeing. We will share these gems with our customers via our Wellbeing In Focus Calendar.

GLAD Image 2

Initiatives such as these increase engagement and satisfaction related to recognition for work accomplishments; relationships with coworkers and supervisors. Organisations that are the best in engaging their employees achieve earnings-per-share growth that is more than four times that of their competitors. Compared with business units in the bottom quartile, those in the top quartile of engagement realise substantially better customer engagement, higher productivity, better retention, fewer accidents, and 21% higher profitability. Engaged workers also report better health outcomes.1.

1.Gallup Employee Engagement Poll. These findings are based on a random sample of 30,628 full- and part-time U.S. employees working for an employer from January to June 2018.

Talk to your Relationship Manager today and find out how to get thriving!

 “I came in this morning to be greeted with a lovely surprise! Thank you to the person who wrote the message to me. It was so thoughtful and kind. I feel very humbled. You’ve made my day! What a wonderful initiative.”

 “To our wonderful Wellbeing Team Champions, Thank you so much for organising such a heart warming initiative today.

 “A very big thank you to my Wellbeing fairy for your kind and heartfelt words.”

“We are a very amazing, unique and very special team and one that I am so proud to be part of I wanted to thank you for the amazing initiative from the Wellbeing champions with GLAD. Thank you. “

 “Gorgeous initiative and beautifully presented! Thanks Champs and wonderful colleagues :)

“This was a great touch, and a fantastic way to start the day. It’s great to have joined a team who value each other the way we do here – I’ve noticed lots of smiles this morning. To the Champions – yes you are! :)“

 

 

The inter-generational workplace

Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP recently presented a seminar on The inter-generational workplace - creating a safe and thriving culture at the Safety First Conference in Sydney. In this video recording of the event, Sally explains the issues workplaces face when, for the first time, we see up to five distinct generations in Australian workplaces. Focussing on communicatiuon styles and motivations Sally guides the listener through ways to effectively manage the challenges.

Support for those impacted by drought

The deepening drought in New South Wales, north-west Victoria and eastern South Australia, in addition to the continuing drought in Queensland, has a far reaching impact on individuals, families and whole communities. These impacts are both physical and emotional; disrupting lives and resulting in great emotional distress. The longer the drought continues, waiting and hoping for rain slowly turns into feelings of hopelessness. Financial hardship increases and with it despair; family tensions may build along with the day to day trauma of watching livestock and crops fail seriously affecting mental health and the ability to keep functioning.

Welcome to Newport & Wildman customers

As of the 1st of July, 2018 Newport & Wildman will be proudly part of AccessEAP. This marks an expansion of our EAP and workplace wellbeing services into Tasmania.

For our Newport & Wildman customers this will mean business as usual, Tony Newport and the clinical team will continue to provide local clinical services. Tony will also work in the business to ensure the unique relationship you have with Newport & Wildman will be retained in order to best meet your needs.

Ending the Normalisation of Harassment with Courageous Conversations

Harassment is defined by the Australian Human Rights Commission as unlawfully treating a person less favourably on the basis of particular protected attributes such as a person’s sex, race, disability or age. However, harassment can be so deeply engrained into workplace culture that it has become normal.

Signs of normalised harassment

The three most common forms of sexual harassment are subtle, being: suggestive comments or jokes (55%); intrusive questions about one’s private life or physical appearance (50%); and inappropriate staring or leering (31%). These less obvious acts can be played down or attributed to simple misunderstandings.

Classic examples of this include statements such as: “I was only joking”, “what happened to your sense of humour”, “I was only asking” or “no one else seems to mind”, which all minimise a victim’s concerns.

In the same vein, approximately one in five (18%)[1] people have experienced behaviour which would constitute sexual harassment, based on the legal definition, but did not label or identify it as harassment.

“The important thing to focus on here isn’t the intention of the act, but its effects. The person who feels impacted by the behaviour should not be made to question whether their response is valid. These attitudes are dangerous and can reinforce the very behaviour which makes the victim feel unsafe and uncomfortable in the workplace,” Marcela Slepica, Clinical Services Director here at AccessEAP.

Courageous conversations

“Highlighting harassment can create anxiety and fears that our colleagues and our career will be detrimentally affected. This can also be compounded by our imagination, which can blow our concerns out of proportion There may be a power imbalance The first step is to trust your feelings and take a calm collected approach,” Marcela. This is not always easy so take time to think, plan and then respond.

  1. Be confident with your concerns

It can be easy to stop ourselves raising concerns by minimising their importance. For example, we may tell ourselves we are ‘just being silly’, we are ‘being too sensitive’ or ‘it’s not such a big deal’. These thoughts are counterproductive because the fear keeps you from being courageous. If the issue is impacting you or someone else negatively or if there are consequences to not raising the issue, then it’s important. Be clear about the reasons why you are initiating the conversation.

  1. Focus on the behaviour

Let the person know that it is their behaviour that is upsetting or concerning you. Be careful not to label the person as this can result in them becoming defensive. Counter their defensiveness by distinguishing the problem from the person, and invite their input in how to address the issue. For example instead of saying ”you’re harassing me or you are a bully”, lead with an example such as ‘when you say X I feel uncomfortable, or I feel bullied.”’.

  1. Be clear and specific

Anxiety about how someone might react can lead to messages being ‘watered-down’. We may give a lot of positive feedback in amongst the negative, or we might talk generally to a group about behaviour that bothers us without speaking directly to the person involved. The risk is that your message will not be heard by them. Say what you sincerely believe needs to be said, even if you know the person you are speaking to may not enjoy hearing it and be sure to phrase it in a way that is respectful towards that person.

  1. Listen

This can sometimes be the hard part because people can be defensive or angry after hearing your concerns and feedback. They may deny that there’s an issue and even convince you it’s ‘all in your head’. Before you launch into your opinion of the situation, listen first, don’t interrupt, explain, justify or defend. There are always two sides to a story and there will be time to respond later.

  1. Respond calmly

Depending on how the person has reacted to your concerns remaining calm can be tricky, however focus on clarifying the factual accuracies of what the person has said. Their feelings are subjective and you can’t change these. The person may be angry with you for some time. Confidently re-state your concerns, but remember if you start getting upset, call time out. You have to manage your own emotions first before you can respond well to others. You may need some time to think about what each other has said before you come to a resolution or compromise.

Advice for workplaces

Workplaces can also help by taking a unified approach to preventing and addressing instances of harassment in the workplace. Training entire teams to be vigilant for cases of harassment and educating them on how to deal with them will help change behaviours. In just over half (51%) of cases of sexual harassment, for example, the witness or ‘bystander’ reported having taken action to prevent and reduce the harm of workplace sexual harassment. Additionally, in 45% of cases the reporting of the incident resulted in the harassment stopping.

When dealing with a case of harassment it’s important to focus on the impact of behaviours, act quickly, clarify exactly what happened, create a safe environment and develop a strong action plan and preventative measures.

 

[1] The national 2012 Working Without Fear survey conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Headspace resources for parents and schools, 13 Reasons Why, Season 2

In order to support parents in the workplace and people working in education, we are sharing some important information and resources made available by headspace, National Youth Mental Health Foundation. The Netflix series 13 Reasons Why caused a great deal of concern in the school and wider community about this time last year. Season 2 of the series was launched last Friday. The first series, based on the novel of the same name, revolves around the aftermath of a teenage girl’s suicide. This series is graphic, making real and distressing reference to suicide, self-harm and rape.

While some people believe the show allows for authentic conversations about suicide, others believe the series exposes viewers to harmful suicide messages. One disturbing possibility is that it portrays suicide as a way of exacting revenge, solving problems and conflict.

headspace has created a blog post on the headspace website, which is available now, and provides young people and parents with information to consider regarding the show.

The blog post includes:

- tips for discussing the show safely

- points to consider before watching the show

- questions to help start a conversation.

You can access the blog post here: headspace.org.au/news/the-launch-of-13-reasons-why-season-2

Now the series is officially launched, people can be directed to 13reasonswhy.info where the resources will be available, including the information that can be found on the headspaceblog.

Further to this, eheadspace will be holding group chat sessions for young people on Thursday May 24 from 7-8pm AEST and Sunday May 27 from 7-8pm AEST. You can access the group chat sessions here: https://eheadspace.org.au/get-help/eheadspace-group-chat-session/

Finally, we would like to inform you that a range of measures have been put in place with Netflix to assist with safely launching Season 2 of the series. This includes:

• A designated webpage 13reasonswhy.info where resources and help seeking information will be provided.

• Inclusion of warnings and help-seeking information before, and at the end, of each episode of the show. The end frame directs users back to 13reasonswhy.info

On the webpage you will find:

o Videos - One will feature the cast of the show (coming out of character) to address issues depicted in the show, and the other features Australian young people talking about the importance of reaching out to family and friends and seeking help on mental health issues.

o Resources – Tailored discussion guides for young people, parents and schools o Help seeking information - Detailed help seeking information for young people.

It is important to note that 13 Reasons Why, Season 2 is rated MA15+ in Australia, therefore the resources have been developed for secondary schools, parents and secondary school aged young people. The resources are designed to promote help seeking and support having conversations with an individual young person and are not intended to be used for large groups or for classroom lessons.

This information has been provided by Kristen Douglas, National Manager headspace in Schools – Kidsmatter, Mindmatters, & School Support headspace, National Youth Mental Health Foundation

For further information: • http://www.nasponline.org/about-school-psychology/media-room/press-releases/guidance-regarding-13-reasons-why-season-2 (National Association of School Psychologists)

Also, should you be concerned about your own wellbeing or the wellbeing of someone close to you, please do not hesitate to contact the following: Lifeline 131 114 Beyondblue 1300 224 636 SuicideLine 1300 651 251

Understand Your Strengths

Management is one of the most important factors in developing an engaged, productive team, as maintaining and improving performance can often be complex and demanding task. However, positive psychology, and in particular strengths coaching, provides a way forward.

Here, AccessEAP’s Clinical Services Director, Marcela Slepica discusses Virtues in Action (VIA), a prominent approach to defining personal strengths.

“VIA has been developed by leading figures in Positive Psychology and charts 24 traits that fall within six categories. By defining and focusing on these abilities, businesses can provide employees with more fulfilling roles and empower them to achieve their best work.”

WISDOM

Seeing things from a different perspective, looking at the big picture and the how or why things are done, as well as finding inventive solutions to problems are all signs of what VIA defines as Wisdom. As a leader, it’s important to support these employees with opportunities to use their analytical mindset and creativity.

COURAGE

These employees say what’s on their mind, and value their authenticity, bravely sharing views that may be different to the majority if needed. Often determined and persistent, they are also often charismatic and hold sway with those around them. This character strength is interesting when it comes to workplaces as managers can often feel challenged by an employee with these traits. Consider thanking the employee for sharing their views and see if they can become involved in some collaborative solutions with other team members. 

HUMANITY

Emotionally attuned and compassionate, these employees are often recognised as being well liked amongst their teams. They are inclined to creating harmony and are often the first to offer assistance to their colleagues.Those with humanity traits demonstrate a double-edged side to character strengths. It is important to give roles working with people, however, they will need help keeping boundaries, as they are likely to give a lot, and care should be taken to prevent burnout.

JUSTICE

With a strong sense of right and wrong, these employees draw heavily on their personal values and are often inclined to offer guidance to the group, whether or not they are in a leadership role. They also work well in groups with a clear understanding of everyone’s roles.These employees do well in structured and process –oriented roles in team settings. When collaborating, this employee can create stability as a source of consistency and reliability for the team.

TRANSCENDENCE

Positivity is a great indicator of Transcendence traits. This employee will celebrate colleagues’ strengths, and take an optimistic view of people and the world around them. They interpret situations with good humour seeing challenges as opportunities.This employee’s strengths will be a great asset, particularly during difficult times, as you will find that they boost morale and can offer hope in even the most troubling circumstances.

TEMPERANCE

Balanced, calm and collected, these employees appear unperturbed by situations, good and bad. With a string control over their emotions, these employees take a measured and considered approach, weighing up all risks before taking action. Consideration takes time, so these employees are suited to slower paced roles that require thought and in-depth knowledge, rather than swift decisive action. They may require regular check ins to understand what they are thinking or feeling under their controlled exterior.

Positive psychology has the potential to equip managers and supervisors to better understand their team and help employees to work to their strengths. This creates greater team cohesion, drives productivity and allows for positive growth.

Case Study - Harnessing the Power of Positive Psychology at Work

The concepts of positive psychology can have many benefits in the workplace. This powerful tool is used to focus on employees’ personal strengths skills, and capabilities, as a foundation for developing their performance.

Recently, a global study found that workgroups that received strength based interventions showed an average increase in employee engagement of up to 15[1] per cent, reductions in staff turnover of up to 721 per cent, and 591 per cent less safety incidents.

Eleni van Delft, Accredited Strengths Coach and Director of Relationship Management, at AccessEAP, a leading not-for-profit Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider in Australia, recently implemented a new positive psychology approach to team management. The results have driven team engagement, communication and productivity for the business.

Here, Eleni explains how using Positive Psychology during a period of impressive business growth, allowed her team to play to their strengths!

Defining the approach

A number of big wins in our organisation had made it imperative to grow our numbers. I quickly identified the need for a new approach to help shape our new team.

I am inspired and intrigued by Positive Psychology and in particular, exploring the key elements that make people flourish in life and at work. My management style has been influenced as an Accredited Strengths Coach, to lead by example and use positive reinforcement. So I knew early on that I wanted to help the team bond and define how they can best work together.

The recruitment of new staff was an ideal time for the entire team to identify and the individual strengths each person possessed and help each other grow to their potential. My intention was to cultivate our newly formed team of diverse, capable, and passionate individuals, from a range of industry backgrounds, into a cohesive unit who could appreciate what each other has to offer.

Introducing positive psychology

The idea of personal strengths was introduced to the team through ‘The Science of Character (8min "Cloud Film")’, a short film that excited and intrigued them. We then completed a couple of psychometric surveys and discussed the results amongst ourselves.

The first survey included value statements that individuals felt described them most, e.g. “Being able to come up with new and different ideas is one of my strong points”. The results provided each team member with an individual profile highlighting their strengths amongst 24 potential traits.

A natural discussion followed, with individuals commenting on when they had seen their colleagues use their strengths and how they seemed to be “in their element” when doing so. The effect of the program was immediate. The atmosphere in the room lifted and people became more energised. There was more comradery and a greater understanding and appreciation of the diversity of strengths within our new team.  Each individual also gained more self-awareness and came up with their own ideas for using their strengths more effectively.

Encouraged by this initial success, I was keen to push forward with the Positive Psychology approach to build on these insights.

I introduced a second questionnaire, which enabled us to identify 60 specific strengths that were directly relatable to work. The results were more detailed and provided individuals with their individual strength profile. The profiles and corresponding strengths were divided into 4 quadrants:

strengths behaviors table

Creating positive results

Traditional approaches to motivating change in others, from parenting through to performance management, focus on people’s limitations and areas for improvement. Research shows however that these traditional approaches don’t have the intended effect and instead tend to lower individual confidence, performance, and team morale.

I could see the influence of these traditional approaches when we first began the exercise, with most team members wanting to focus on their weaknesses during the strengths debriefing. A major shift occurred when we turned attention to people’s strengths, and this has had lasting benefits. As a daily reminder of what they bring to the team personalised mugs were created for everyone.

Through appreciating and identifying one another’s perceived strengths, the team have formed strongly collaborative and cohesive working relationships. We’ve also seen improvements in productivity, individual performance and a reduction in days missed through sick leave.

This approach has given the team greater confidence, opened them up to learning and growing within their roles, and invigorated them to do their best work. For example, there has been an increase in the number of ideas put forward on how to create more effective processes, or do things in more innovative ways. Another outcome is that one of the team identified a strength for presenting to groups that was not being utilised in their role at the time, and so we created an opportunity for this to occur.

The benefits of using Positive Psychology through strengths coaching have been acknowledged at an organisational level too. There is a keen interest in how we can better utilise people’s potential across the business here at AccessEAP by creating opportunities that harness their strengths.

Having gone through this process, it’s become clear that focusing on strengths, rather than weaknesses, has and will continue to improve the performance of our colleagues, teams and even the entire organisation.

[1] Gallup: Strengths-Based Employee Development: The Business Results, 2016 http://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/193499/strengths-based-employee-development-business-results.aspx