ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE
THE EAP IS VALUABLE (AND NOT JUST AFTER A CRISIS)
Mathew Noonan - Behaviour Support Partner
ast year I made the time to attend a breakfast hosted by then beyond-
blue Chair Jeff Kennett for community leaders involved in providing support and care services for the region.
AEU ACT BRANCH
Two important moments really stuck with me. One was the shocking statistics in Australia about the numbers of people who self-harm or attempt harm, and especially about the numbers of people who are not travelling ok mental health-wise but who themselves are directly involved in providing support to others. The second issue was the importance of all Australians, and especially those involved in providing care for others, to properly and honestly ‘check-in’ with themselves and others regularly. It has helped me to realise that for years and years, I have always recommended staff and leaders access and use the Employee Assist Programs (EAP). From incidents in schools, Risk Assessment meetings, staff getting emotional when expressing an ongoing challenge, staff feeling
they are not being productive with their supervisor, friends of mine who have separated or lost a family member suddenly and so on – I thought I had been sincerely promoting the importance and value of using our EAP every time I was involved in a crisis or trauma. While this is good, I realised earlier this year that I needed to seriously and honestly undertake Mr Kennett’s ‘check-in’. I had been finding a pattern very subtly emerging in my head during car rides, in those moments of the day when I could ‘breathe’ (rare, and usually when I was extremely tired), and when trying to sleep some nights or when I was supposed to be relaxing and enjoying my downtime with my family. Some of my most tricky and complex kids, families, colleagues and school leaders that