Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) is launching a suite of innovative workplace practices to support mental health in response to COVID-19.

As October is Health and Safety Month, GMW is taking the opportunity to improve health and safety within its workplace. The theme this year is Work, Health and Safety through COVID-19.

In recognition of GMW’s call to action on workplace mental health, the organisation has been invited to help launch and contribute to the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) mental health framework.

Developed by the WSAA in partnership with Beyond Blue and other water industry organisations, the framework explores eight critical areas to drive change through a number of actions. GMW’s Peer Support program is featured as a case study forming part of the framework.

GMW’s Managing Director, Charmaine Quick, and General Manager People, Culture and Safety, Glenda Smith, recorded a short film describing mental health initiatives in place to proactively care for staff.  

“We’re pleased to be part of an industry-wide initiative on mental health and contribute a case study of our amazing Peer Support network to be part of the framework,” Ms Quick said.

“At GMW, we are ramping up support to intervene early and support recovery utilising the WSAA mental health framework.”

The framework aims to drive a step change in mental health awareness and management in the water industry. It is accompanied by 15 case studies and videos from water utilities around Australia, many which draw on recent workplace experience during COVID-19. If you missed the webinar launch on 27 October you can catch up on the recording here.

“Our mental health strategy is driving cultural change across our workplace and focuses on the well-being of staff during this extended period of working from home and in readiness to return to the workplace,” Ms Smith said.

“Our Peer Support network is made up of trained volunteers who provide a confidential and independent support service for their fellow staff who may be struggling.

“The volunteers are trained as mental health first aiders and supported by a mental health professional. More than 2,600 employee support contacts have been made within the business since implementation on home and work issues.”

Dr Grant Blashki, Lead Clinical Advisor for Beyond Blue, said, “In these uncertain times, sustained commitment to mental health will be critical. Beyond Blue is proud to have contributed to the thinking behind the strategy.”

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