Council asks, R U OK?

14th September 2017 3:30 PM
Clarence Valley Council Customer Service Officers Cassie Shipway, Kaysha Fordham, Shona Muller and Tammy Carr get into the spirit of R U OK Day. Clarence Valley Council Customer Service Officers Cassie Shipway, Kaysha Fordham, Shona Muller and Tammy Carr get into the spirit of R U OK Day. Caitlan Charles

IT'S easy to get caught up in your own problems and forget to stop and ask, are you okay?

At Clarence Valley Council, they are trying to change that, holing an R U OK Day sausage sizzle for staff in memorial park.

Environment, planning and community director Des Schroder said council as an employer were working to ensure their staff are able to speak about their mental health issues.

"It's taking notice of people in the work place... it's about having a chat and recognising that some people sometimes do need to talk, and R U OK Day is all about that,” he said.

Justin Menzies, council work health and safety coordinator, said mental health wasn't spoken about 10 years ago and they are trying to change that mentality in the workplace.

"Mental health things don't just get fixed over night,” he said. "It's not like a cut or something you can see, so we're trying to prevent it and trying to help people through it.”

Over the last eight or nine months, council have been running a work health and safety campaign aimed at physical health, to help improve the physical safety of people at work, and in the past month, they've been focusing on mental health.

"You find even with normal injuries, it's not just about the injury it's self, its about having people in a good place,” Mr Menzies said.

"The whole legislation regarding workers compensation has changed because they found a lot of people, once they were off work for 35 days, the chances of them coming back was like 50%, and it's because they're not with their work mates.”

Mr Menzies said council workers were asking for more initiatives like R U OK Day to help improve workplace morale.

"We've had some comments at the last health and safety meetings and workshops... and even the guys walking in saying 'oh we are just wasting out time', have come out and it's been really positive,” he said.