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icare delivers workplace peer mental health training

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NSW state insurer icare’s Injury Prevention Manager Jen Cameron has been delivering mental health training in workplaces aimed at sparking early intervention that reduces mental health pressures on staff.

Government data shows 45% of Australians encounter a mental health issue during their life, and workplaces can provide vital early support.

A team of junior “Rainbow Resident” medical officers at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital are stepping forward to offer mental health support to their colleagues, following the training with icare.

Peer support programs in workplaces offer people at risk of a mental health problem a way to connect with colleagues and seek the support that they need, Ms Cameron says.

“Having trained peer supporters in a workplace can help individuals to identify pressures and take action,” Ms Cameron said. "It can deliver the first step in seeking help and to create a safe space to feel supported.”

Dr Jessica Green says the mental health training will make the Rainbow Resident team more aware of colleagues who may be struggling at work and then help them access support. They are trained to identify a range of psychological indicators that suggest a workmate might be struggling and the best ways to approach them and seek support.

Trouble sleeping, feeling constantly flat or fatigued, or a lack of appetite can point to psychological risk.

"The peer-to-peer mental health training from icare will ensure our junior doctors can thrive at work, by breaking down stigmas and holding positive discussions about mental health,” Dr Green said.