Peninsula Villages at Umina Beach hosted a number of events on Thursday, September 14, to raise awareness of mental health in the aged care sector.
The events, run as part of R U OK? Day, included: self-care stations in each staff room, with information and resources; an opportunity for staff to write their best self-care tips on slips to be compiled into a booklet and displayed; hundreds of yellow cupcakes available in the staff rooms, with a trolley visiting each department to deliver them; a social support worker giving talks about R U OK? Day, self-care and self-help; and a tai chi instructor teaching staff sessions in 15-minute intervals.
“We want to create a workplace where everyone feels comfortable talking about their mental health,” Executive Manager – Quality & Organisational Development, Nicola Burton, said.
“These events were a way for us to raise awareness of the issue and to provide our staff with resources and support.”
A study published in the Medical Journal of Australia found that aged care workers in Australia are at an increased risk of developing mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The study also found that aged care workers were more likely to experience burnout and compassion fatigue than workers in other sectors.
The study’s findings highlight the need for better support for aged care workers.
This includes providing them with access to mental health services, reducing the physical and emotional demands of the work and improving communication and collaboration between staff.
“We know that the work our staff do can be challenging, both physically and emotionally,” Burton said.
“That’s why it’s so important to us to provide them with the support they need to stay mentally healthy.”
R U OK? Day is a national day of action which encourages people to ask their friends, family and colleagues Are you OK?
“The day is an opportunity to start a conversation about mental health and to let someone know that you care.
“We hope that our R U OK? Day initiatives will help to raise awareness of mental health in the aged care sector,” Burton said.
“We also hope that they will encourage people to reach out for help if they need it.”
By investing in the mental health of its staff, Peninsula Villages is helping to ensure that they are able to provide the best possible care to the residents they serve.