Blooming Minds Mental Health & Wellbeing April 16 Issue 3 Workplace Edition

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APRIL 2016















Leading Positively Though Change by Tasha Broomhall


Grab Your Lunch - It’s Half Time & Julie’s Meek’s Top Ten Picks



12-13 14 15

Being Bright With Peter Shupp Working Well In... Organisations Supporting Employees Interviews With; Khahn Nguyen In Construction Jennifer McCall At HBF Barbara Harris The Emmanuel Centre For Community Groups


Functional Impacts By Tasha Broomhall


Developing A Culture Of Positive Mental & Wellbeing


Being Culturally Smart By Tanya Finnie Plus Top 5 Tips For Increasing Cultural Intelligence


Ageism In The Workplace By Maree Wrack


Horticultural Therapy. Growing Change With Renee Gardiner


Appraising Performance. Narelle Di Trento from Requisite HR


Centrecare Employee Assistance Program


“Are You Stressed... Or Are You Blooming?” Self-Check Quiz


Sophie Budd’s Carrot Cake for Morning Tea.


Over To You Testimonials

Founder and Editor-in-Chief: TASHA BROOMHALL Deputy Editor: SHARNA MENSAH Editing and proofreading: SHARNA MENSAH GEORGIA MILLAD Regular Contributors: TASHA BROOMHALL SOPHIE BUDD PETER SCHUPP JULIE MEEK RENEE GARDINER Contributing Photographers: CRAIG BROOMHALL Typesetting and internal design: CRAIG BROOMHALL SHARNA MENSAH Bloom! Book Cover Design: DANIEL AGOSTINO SOFIA VARANO


Blooming Minds© 2016 All Rights Reserved. We encourage you to share the content of this e-magazine with others who you think may be interested. However to comply with copyright please ensure that information is only shared in its full form and with the credit given to the authors. The information, opinions, suggestions and ideas contained in this publication are based on the experience of the contributors and research information which is believed to be accurate but not infallible. All effort has been made to render this information free from error or omission. Whilst written and presented in good faith, Blooming Minds and the contributors assume no responsibility or liability for any loss or damage caused directly or indirectly from this information. The material cannot substitute for appropriate professional opinion, which would take into account individual factors, specific situations, environmental conditions or circumstances likely to influence actions taken or avoided at any time. Please be advised, this presentation provides general information only, and should not be seen as professional advice specific to any particular situation, problem or person. If you require assistance for mental health issues please contact your medical practitioner or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.


TASHA’S UPDATE Recent research demonstrates that employees with a positive mood are 31% more PRODUCTIVE, achieve 37% more SALES and experience 300% more CREATIVITY (not simply the mosaic creating type creativity – but the innovative solution focussed creativity that supports diverse business outcomes). Over recent years we have seen employers develop a better understanding of mental illness to enable them to better support and respond to employees in distress. However we

need to now see this approach expand to include preventative actions where we proactively build the positive mental health and wellbeing of our workforce. So many organisations are still grappling with how to approach mental illness, that the idea of mental wellness may seem intangible and yet the research demonstrates that there are significant improvements we can make in the way we lead, communicate and make decisions. In this edition we have interviewed business leaders who are taking

proactive as well as responsive steps to build the mental health and wellbeing of their employees; we discuss how leaders can have a positive influence during times of organisational change and we hear form guest columnists about diversity of ages and cultures in the workplace. So, how are you proactively supporting the mental health and wellbeing of your workforce?

Written by Tasha Broomhall

If you are ready to develop the mental health culture of your workplace we have a comprehensive tool to assist you. Email us for a copy of our Workplace Strategy Map to assist you with designing a plan for your organisation.

“A healthy working environment is one in which there is not only an absence of harmful conditions but an abundance of health-promoting ones.” WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION 3

Leading Positively Through Change During times of change, leaders can fall into the trap of simply communicating the WHAT and WHEN of organisational change processes. Positive leadership requires both acceptance and understanding of emotional needs and strategies to support these. Positive leadership should assist employees to: • understand how the change and associated processes are aligned with the organisation’s values • understand and accept different emotional responses to change • help individuals to develop strategies to enhance personal to manage stress proactively wellbeing • help individuals to improve positive mental wellbeing • develop strategies to build and enhance effective that provide both proactive and relationships and responsive services supports within the organisation




(through all levels of leadership of the organisation) including awareness of mental health as part of health; with the knowledge and skills to recognise and appropriately respond to mental health concerns that arise


clearly defined, articulated and reviewed at a strategic level in policy and procedure and at a behavioural level (not simply theoretical) for all employees, and to direct business decisions © Blooming Minds (WA) Pty. Ltd

1. Aligned with Values Values based leadership is not only important during times of organisational change. It is important in creating a positive workplace culture ongoing. However, during times of change, leaders should aim to articulate the rationale, the decision making process and the determined actions, based on the organisation’s values. This requires that leaders themselves are first able to articulate what the values are.

Positive leadership requires acceptance and understanding of the emotional needs of individuals and groups during times of change 4

2. Model of responses to change DENIAL SHOCK DENIAL






SOURCE: Adams et al (1976) As cited in: Surviving change; L.Leahy The above figure outlines possible emotional reactions to change. As leaders we often try to respond to people who are having an emotional response by using rational strategies, but this can simply increase negative emotions and detachment.

We need to understand that through times of change, our experiences will be different – we will progress through the change reaction curve at different paces. An important element of leading others through change is having self-awareness and self-leadership. Know where you are on the curve and resource yourself with appropriate supports to help you.

One strategy suggested by Leahy and Chamberlain is to describe these possible reactions to change to employees, inviting them to reflect on where they are in the reaction cycle, and to discuss how they can get their own needs met, as well as support others.

Decci and Ryan identified a stress management model with three components that they believe affect our motivation and performance in different settings. These components are competency, control and belonging.


We need to feel that we are competent and that we have the skills and tools required to do our job. We don’t like to feel as if we are in over our heads.

You can use these three components to: • Think about a situation that causes you stress. • Consider what the core issue is that is triggering the stress. • Determine possible strategies to alleviate the stress in that area.


We need to feel that we have a choice and some autonomy over the way in which we go about our lives. A core factor is that we often don’t like change. As Mark Twain said, “The only person who likes change is a baby with a wet diaper.” And even then, it is not really the process of change that the baby likes, it is the result, right?


We need to feel that we belong and that we are accepted, valued, respected and cherished by someone or some group. We are social creatures so it is not only about being part of a group – but, importantly, we want to feel that we are a valued member of the group, contributing in a meaningful way.


3. Strategies to Manage Stress

5. Effective Relationships & Supports

In her famous TED talk on stress, psychologist Kelly McGonigal describes that instead of trying to calm your pounding heart during times of stress, you should rather view the stress reaction as your body getting ready for the challenge. This will give you the energy to deal with the issues at hand. Your pounding heart is preparing you for action and your faster breathing is allowing more oxygen to your brain so that you can think more clearly. McGonigal determines that how you think about stress matters.

Achor, Ben-Shahar and Stone determined that social support was the highest predictor of happiness during high periods of stress. Their research suggests that support received is important, but that support given is an even more important factor in sustained engagement and happiness.

Harvard University conducted a study that asked one group of participants to rethink their body’s response to stress. The group that reframed their stress responses positively, had far less of a negative effect from their stressful situations. We recognise that many employees react to change with stress responses; uncertainty and change can elicit these responses. However, we can encourage people to engage positively with proactive stress management strategies rather than becoming overwhelmed by their stress.

Leaders should consider the following: • How can you increase supports and model this for others? • How can you increase supports for each other and increase a sense of belonging and connectedness within your team and to the broader organisation?

Written by Tasha Broomhall

If an employee is experiencing a high stress response that is causing distress or that is impacting on their functioning or wellbeing, then it is advisable to seek specific individual support from your EAP provider.

4. Positive Mental Wellbeing Shawn Achor conducted a program with KPMG employees in the stressful lead up to tax time. The employees were instructed to choose one out of five activities that correlate with positive change to personal wellbeing: • Jot down three things they were grateful for. • Write a positive message to someone in their social support network. • Meditate at their desk for two minutes. • Exercise for 10 minutes. • Take two minutes to describe in a journal the most meaningful experience of the past 24 hours. The participants performed their chosen activity daily for three weeks. Several days later, both the participants and a control group were evaluated to determine their general sense of wellbeing. On every metric, the experimental group’s scores were significantly higher than the control groups. Months later, both groups were once again tested, and the experimental group still showed significantly higher scores in optimism and life satisfaction. Just one simple exercise a day greatly improved the employees’ wellbeing. Happiness became habitual. Helping your employees to access resilience and positive wellbeing skills can be a positive step in assisting them to manage their mental wellbeing proactively.



BLOOM! AT WORK! A Mental Health Guide for Leaders Bloom At Work explores the relevance of mental health issues, a brief overview of common mental illness and possible functional impacts as well as a range of proactive strategies and resources that may assist both the employee and the organisation. “A lot has been written about mental health, but it is often very theoretical and hard to translate into people’s everyday understanding. Tasha Broomhall has now written several books that explain exactly what mental illness is and how we can deal with

it in our lives. This new book, like the others, is practical and down to earth, based on thorough research, and incorporates Tasha’s engagement with managers, supervisors and employees in a wide range of organisations. One of the special features of Bloom at Work is its insightful use of case studies of real people’s journeys in the workforce. I hope that it finds a place in the resources not just of HR departments, but of all concerned managers.” Professor Alex Main Psychology and Exercise Science, Murdoch University

A Year to Bloom – 52 Week Journal Feeling stressed? Overwhelmed? In a funk? Need some support for your mental health? This guided 52 week journal will give you practical ideas and guidance to enhance your wellbeing through two strategies. Each week a new journal activity will encourage you to continue actively enhancing your mental health over the next 52 weeks. Firstly, it will encourage you to enjoy at least 4 intentionally positive and nurturing things each week. That means only doing something nice for yourself every second day. This is more than most of us do each week (and you probably do something intentionally positive for someone else every day!). So, take the challenge and commit to engaging in 4 intentionally positive and nourishing things for yourself every week. Start today! Secondly, consider the weekly theme and where the ideas may fit into your life. Each week’s theme provides ideas, questions or tasks designed to focus your attention on different areas of your life, your influence on others and your wellbeing. Commit to completing each week’s tasks and detailing your journey on these pages. You can choose from two different formats – a printed A5 Journal or weekly emails delivered straight to your Inbox.


Grab your lunch – it’s half time! It is mid-afternoon, you are at work and the idea of having a lie down on or under the desk is becoming extremely appealing. Your body is sending out no energy signals and you are wondering if your brain may have gone home early. Does this state of affairs sound familiar? If so, you are not alone because research in Australia has shown that when the lights are on but no one is home (otherwise known as ‘presenteeism’), your productivity and that of your work colleagues can be reduced by one third or more. Cast your mind back a few hours to lunchtime, and the solution to your ongoing afternoon fatigue could be right there. Ask yourself these questions:

Did I eat lunch?

In the workplace many of us are faced with competing priorities and it is easy to put lunch at the bottom of the list. Yet without lunch, blood sugar levels will plummet, making it impossible for your brain and body to function for the rest of the day and rendering you unable to complete any job well.

Did I leave my desk?

Physically getting up from your desk to eat lunch is integral to taking a proper fuel and renewal break and provides an opportunity to get your blood flowing through your brain and body. Our perception or ‘memory’ of what we eat determines how full we feel afterwards, regardless of how much we have consumed. Eating in front of a computer (or any device) affects this perception. You don’t have to leave the building, however simply stepping out

of your office or cubicle and walking to the lunchroom is enough to make that mental and physical shift.

Did I make a healthy choice for lunch?

On a workday what you choose for lunch will depend on if you have brown bagged it or if you are making your choice at a lunch bar or nearby café. You might be lucky and enjoy a feast of locations or you may work in a veritable desert serviced by a single fried food outlet. Making your own lunch could save you around $10 each day or almost $2 500 over the course of a year!


Julie’s Top Lunch Picks 1. The Humble Sandwich

Liven up your sandwich by using a variety of breads such as wholegrain, wholemeal or chia seeds and swop between sliced bread, rolls or wraps. No need to spread with butter or margarine. Tasty healthy fillings include: • lean ham; • sliced tomato and reduced fat cheese; • smoked salmon and low fat cream cheese; • sliced chicken with salad leaves and a light spread of low fat mayonnaise; • grated reduced fat cheese topped with baby spinach leaves; • sliced turkey breast topped with avocado; • tuna mixed with low fat mayonnaise, finely diced red onion and flat leaf parsley. If a sandwich doesn’t appeal to you then try a big colourful salad with leaves, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, crunchy sprouts and sliced red capsicum. Top the salad with an egg or a small can of tuna, and serve it with a slice of grainy bread.

2. Go Asian

Sushi and rice paper rolls are a great choice if you are buying lunch. For the dipping sauce, choose sweet chilli rather than the satay variety. Bento boxes and teriyaki meals can be good choices too but be careful to steer clear of the tempura or other deep-fried options.

3. Anything left?

If you loved your dinner the night before, there is nothing better than enjoying it again the next day. Just make sure that you include some protein in the form of meat, chicken or fish, a carbohydrate like rice or pasta and some vegetables or salad. Cooking an extra portion the night before is an easy and cost effective way of ensuring your lunch is organised.

4. Something hot

The weather doesn’t have to be cool to enjoy soup or a hot lunch that can be quickly whipped up in the office kitchen. Why not try: • Home-made or prepared soups (without added cream or salt) plus a wholegrain roll • A small tin of baked beans (or any other tinned legume) or small tin of tuna combined with a single serve pouch of brown rice or noodles (90 seconds in the microwave) and your favourite frozen vegetable.

A nutritionist and dietitian, Julie Meek is one of the most respected sports dietitians in australia with over 15 years’ experience in public, sports and corporate nutrition.

Article originally published for Healthier Workplace WA


BEING BRIGHT Be a Workplace Star… Or, a cold wet smelly fish!

Workplace Stars hold an integral position in the fabric of a business. They are the people that get along with everyone. When things get real, they lighten the mood and put a positive spin on how changes will create a positive outcome. A Workplace Star smiles and laughs more than any other team member because they don’t sweat the small stuff and they value relationships.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

It’s easier said than done, but the tiny stressors in your workplace are the most damaging to your health and wellbeing. Great examples of shining stars that make a workplace difference are the world-renowned staff at Pike Place Fish Market. They turned their failing workplace business into a success by choosing to lift their customer connection with contagious energy and enthusiasm. They throw fish between one another, laughing and shouting. The Seattle based marketplace with its cold, wet and smelly fish has now become a world famous attraction. The staff enjoy coming to work despite the freezing, wet and smelly conditions, which are a constant source of what could be perceived as stressful. They have turned things around and shown how to drive greater wellbeing alongside successful business profits.

connection. As with the Pike Place Fish Market, good working relationships can be formed quickly by participating in team building exercises with a strong focus on smiling, having fun and laughing, as healthy behaviour patterns. Good relationships can be fast tracked when laughter is present. Laughter breaks down language barriers and is known to build a sense of trust and compassion between people who are barely acquainted.

by peter schupp

A star is born

When a group laughs together without judgement, such as in a Laughter Yoga session, they reduce the stress hormone cortisol. All it takes to reduce stress for the entire staff is to act in a positive manner, smile, have fun and laugh. Perceived stress can be flipped into creating a healthier and more profitable workplace. Have you and your workplace team had a good healthy laugh lately? Laughter Yoga is simple, accessible, adaptable and dependable.

Peter Schupp is the President of LaughWA and can be found at his own Kaizen Wellbeing Laughter Club every Tuesday night from 7pm at 89 Marlock St, Greenwood. Peter has an ability to connect with individuals and lift their energy and that creates successful events. Wellness has never been so accessible and fun.

Value Relationships

Relationships are formed through experiences and



Workplace Mental Health & Wellbeing Campaign

Concerned about someone’s mental health and not sure how to approach them?

You can develop your organisation’s mental health culture through a targeted information program that includes integrated articles in your newsletter, informative posters, information on your intranet to develop awareness, and skills to recognise and respond to mental health issues in the workplace. The pack is designed around a 12-month campaign to raise mental health awareness in your organisation and focusses on building the individual resilience of your employees.

“I've noticed…”

Let’s Talk About It Video Series Educational videos for your intranet about how to have appropriate workplace conversations in relation to mental health and wellbeing. Titles: • Let’s Talk About It (How to have a conversation with a colleague or employee when you are concerned about their mental health. There are two versions of this video, one for performance concerns and one for personal concerns) • Do with not Do to (How to work with an employee to discuss and negotiate support that may be required if they are experiencing mental health issues that may be affecting their performance) • Suicide Concerns (recognising and responding to an employee who you feel may be at risk of suicide)

(State observable facts)

“Have you noticed..?” (Ask for their perspective)


(Be quiet and listen)

Your Logo Here

Your EAP Information here

Workplace Information Pack This pack includes short guidelines suitable for inclusion on your intranet. Titles: • What is mental health and mental illness • General impacts of mental health issues in the workplace • How to respond if you have concerns about a colleague or employees mental health • Strategies for managing mental health issues with an employee • Responding to an employee or colleague who may be at risk of suicide • Resources and supports for looking after your own mental health and wellbeing


working well in...

Written by Tasha Broomhall

organisations supporting employees Almost half of all adults will experience mental illness in their lifetime and this can have wide reaching costs for the workplace. Unfortunately, despite the high impact of mental illness in the workplace, many supervisors, managers and colleagues do not know how to recognise developing mental health problems or how to appropriately support an employee with mental illness. An employer’s basic legal responsibility is to not discriminate against an employee because of mental illness and to provide reasonable workplace adjustments to support employees with mental illness. However, many managers and supervisors do not know what this actually translates to in terms of behaviour, actions and supports. There is little balance in typical

working well in...


A recent report on mental health in the workplace published by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), states that 25.1% of workers in the construction industry experienced mental illness in the previous 12 months. This is higher than the national average, which predicts that 20% of adults will experience mental illness each year. Recognised issues in the construction industry which may affect the prevalence rates, include: personal concerns around employment security; and ongoing levels of stigma around mental illness (which may prevent some seeking assistance in the male dominated work force). The financial impact on Australian businesses is estimated at an annual loss of $10.9 billion as a result of neglecting to address mental health in the workplace. However the business case is strong for proactively addressing the mental health of your work force and for developing a positive mental health culture. The PwC report

responses with some employers providing so much flexibility and support to employees with mental health issues that it negatively impacts on the organisation. For example, other employees may have to carry too onerous a workload, or adjustments to working hours may have a negative impact on operational needs, and so on. And yet other organisations are so inflexible that they won’t even make small adjustments, such as allowing an employee to work flexible hours to attend medical appointments. We interview three organisations with very different operational needs and looked at the ways they are trying to strike this important balance in responding to the mental health and wellbeing with their staff.

indicates that for every $1 invested in mental health initiatives, construction industry employers can expect an average of $2.50 return.

is experiencing problems. We then provide appropriate assistance. We also have a business coach available to all employees who may want to discuss the issue and seek advice.

This month Tasha Broomhall spoke to Khanh Nguyen, the General Manager and Director of Civcon, Civil and Project Management to learn how a young and rapidly expanding company in the construction industry is addressing the issue of employee mental health and wellbeing.

TB: As a business owner and company director, is mental health a relevant issue in your workplace? KN: Yes. Mental health is one of the major issues in my business, and the construction industry in general. I personally take these issues very seriously. We have a zero harm culture in the business, and this encompasses mental health, rehabilitation, safety at the work site, fatigue management, work life balance, and sustainability. With regards to mental health, the leadership team and I actively monitor the wellbeing of our staff. We encourage employees with mental health issues to advise senior management, whether it is them personally or a family member who


TB: If a current employee discloses mental health issues, how do you respond? KN: We provide assistance at work through time off, or referral to our company doctor, or by reducing the workload, if the individual wishes to continue working during this period.

TB: If you have noticed that an employee is experiencing signs of a possible mental health issue, but they have not yet disclosed it to you, what would you do? KN: I would personally ask him/her if he/she is ok (confidentially) and offer assistance. We would then continue to monitor the individual.

TB: If an employee is affected at work because they are caring for a family member with mental health issues, how would you manage this? KN: I would offer assistance to the employee and family member where possible. I would ask the employee to take time off and reduce his workload so that he can care for the family member. We have supported employees in this situation in the past with a range of approaches, including time off to care for a loved one or reducing their workload, and additional financial and time support to take a family holiday.

TB: If an employee is very unwell with mental health issues and is unable to meet the requirements of their role, how would you manage this? KN: We provide medical assistance and time off in the first instance. Then, we monitor his/her performance at work to see if he/she can cope with the normal workload. If this is not achieved, we provide feedback to the individual and give him/her time to get back to normal duties. If this is not possible, we then have an in depth discussion with the individual. Depending on the circumstances, we would attempt to provide alternative roles within the business to fit their capabilities.

TB: Do you have high levels of stress in your workplace? KN: Yes, this is typical in the construction industry. We often work very long hours, with clients who expect a very high level of service and we are working in a competitive market.

TB: How do you manage this stress? KN: We manage this through awareness of the stress levels, time out to breathe, relax and recharge. The most important thing is to be aware of the stress and put management tools in place. We

model this as leaders in our business. Personally, I find that I am able to achieve this balance through making time for fishing, time out with my family, gym and exercise, as well as taking holidays.

TB: What (if any) proactive strategies do you have in your workplace to create a psychologically healthy workforce? KN: Through our company values we promote zero harm, plenty of support, teamwork, and the courage to speak out. Everyone at work is expected to assist one another, and the company is openly supportive of any mental health issues.

“through our company values we promote zero harm, plenty of support, teamwork, and the courage to speak out�


working well in...


HBF has been providing insurance products for Western Australians since 1941 and currently has just over 1 million members who are served by 900 employees across the state / Australia. HBF’s mantra is that a healthy body can do amazing things, and a few years ago they set out to deliver on this promise with their own employees, as well as their members. Jennifer McCall is HBF’s Employee Wellbeing and Recognition Coordinator and has a keen focus on mental health being an integral element of overall health and wellbeing of their employees.

What are the various initiatives you use in your organisation to support mental health? • • • •

• • •

Wellbeing Framework - HBF Balance which provides activities such as yoga, pilates and meditation. Lunch & Learns on Mental Health Awareness and Support. Structured training programs in Mental Health First Aid and Building Resilience We support mental health services/ agencies through fundraising through workplace giving and informal dress days. Proactively promote the use of our Employee Assistance Program and their online resources. Health Safety & Wellbeing Policy Support and provisions are afforded through our Injury Management Policy and procedures.

What are the benefits to your organisation of having this focus on mental wellness? Creating a culture where people are aware of their mental wellbeing and the importance of staying mentally well, this in turn assists our employees to recognise mental health illness and to manage their own mental health more effectively. Our employees feel supported and confident that HBF values them.

Why is mental health a priority area for your organisation? We take pride in looking after the health and wellbeing of our employees, we want them to come to work healthy and happy and we provide an environment where our people are empowered and supported to achieve a state of wellbeing. In doing so, they are passionate brand advocates, committed to helping members live healthier and happier lives.

How long have you been focusing on this area? We have had a strong focus on mental health since 2013, also as part of our wellbeing framework we focus on emotional wellbeing.

What have the challenges been when implementing your mental wellness program? How have you overcome these challenges? It’s been important to have executive support for implementing our mental wellness program and so that any barriers or challenges faced were easily resolved and supported by the Executive team. It was important to have support and engagement from the top down.

What are your plans moving forward? Whilst mental health illnesses are common, we recognise that there is still some misunderstanding and stigma surrounding mental health issues in the community and indeed our workplace. As such, we are committed to reducing the stigma surrounding these issues by engaging in regular strategies to improve mental health literacy and support at our workplace.

Is there anything specifically about working with Blooming Minds that has been beneficial to your organisation? Blooming Minds has helped us achieve an awareness around mental health, breaking down the stigma. They provide quality training to our People Leaders and First Aiders to ensure they are equipped to deal with any mental health issues that arise in our workplace. We are supported by Blooming Minds and consider their advice when implementing any initiatives here at HBF.


working well in...

the community The Emmanuel Centre in North Perth is a self-help centre for people with disability. Emmanuel is often described as the place to contact if you have tried everywhere else. The centre is currently home to a number of organisations and initiatives, working together to make life easier for people with disability. The Centre has undertaken a number of initiatives over many years, focussing on the mental health needs of their service recipients, volunteers, staff and members of the wider Catholic Church community.

Why is mental health a priority area for your organisation? Mental health is an issue that touches everyone’s life, directly or indirectly. At Emmanuel Centre we daily encounter mental health issues. The impact of mental health issues is so strong that unless it is dealt with as a priority we will find that our work and our persons are diminished.

What are the various initiatives you use in your organisation to support mental health?

We come from a model of self-help so that we encourage people to do for themselves or learn to do for themselves rather than be provided with everything. We provide accommodation and work experiences as well as individualised programs as needed.

We sponsor Mental Health First Aid courses for people in the Archdiocese. Currently we have about 70 people trained in Mental Health First Aid working in various parishes. We found the Mental Health First Aid course beneficial for those doing the courses as well as people we meet in our ministry. The Catholic Mental health Network meets every two months for ongoing Professional Development and sharing of ideas and outreach. Tasha Broomhall has proven to be an excellent presenter for many reasons not least of which is that she is passionate about Mental Health First Aid, has personal experience and is very knowledgeable as well as having a sense of humour. No questioner is ever “put-down”. Everyone is deeply respected and we are honoured to have her working with us. The Mental Health First Aid has been really helpful. People who have done the course through Emmanuel Centre join a Catholic Mental Health Network and follow-up with meetings to talk about experiences and to get further skill training.

What are your plans for moving forward? Throughout the year we sponsor mental health initiatives like workshops, retreats, days of reflection and just time to be together. We hope to use the services of Blooming Minds this year by offering four workshops on “Coping with Change” in four key parishes in the Archdiocese.

Blooming Minds partners with organisations and communities to develop positive mental health cultures. From short courses to ongoing programs, individual consulting or resources for your workplace; Blooming Minds delivers.

We work with organisations and communities to enhance positive mental health cultures to assist employees to proactively support their mental health as well as to appropriately recognise and respond to mental health issues in themselves, their colleagues, clients, families and communities. Get in touch to discuss your organisations needs. Email or phone Anna on 0409 922 155


FUNCTIONAL IMPACTS IN THE WORKPLACE The focus for the organisation need not be on trying to pseudo-diagnose someone, but rather on trying to develop an understanding of the functional impacts that an individual experiences, and investigating appropriate supports.

If you notice any of these symptoms and you are concerned about an employee, be careful not to assume that they are experiencing a mental illness. Instead have a conversation with the employee about what you have observed (Read more in section 3). Having the symptoms in themselves does not mean that an employee is experiencing mental illness. It is when the symptoms are pervasive, long lasting and are impacting on the employee’s functioning that it may be at a clinical level of illness. If symptoms are observed and are of concern these can be appropriately addressed with the employee, and assistance may be needed to prevent the issue developing further.

Implications for the Workplace Disclosure If an employee has mental health issues are you likely to know about it? Do they have to disclose a mental illness? This is a complex area where essentially if the illness is affecting an employee’s functioning (and their capacity to perform the core requirements of their job), then it is considered that they do have a responsibility to disclose the illness to their employer4. However, many employees will still choose not to if they don’t feel that it is socially safe to do so.

The possible functional impacts of the various illnesses can be summarised as:




Lack of focus

Not engaging with others

No confidence in areas they previously have been confident in


Social withdrawal

Focussed internally

Difficulty making decisions

Discord with colleagues

Need to control/be perfect

Task overdrive


Excessively tired

Avoidance of work

Micro managing other staff members

Overly reactive emotionally

Accidents (not following safety protocols)

Unusually argumentative

Very over-confident

Lack of concentration

Morale issues

Physical signs such as headaches

Reduced productivity

Seeking extra support

Increased substance use


The reasons why employees do not disclose mental health issues can be very simple, such as they feel that it’s not affecting their work performance and therefore is no one else’s business. Or the reasons can be quite complex in that it can be a mixture of previous negative reactions and therefore fear of discrimination, self-stigma or even lack of awareness of how badly their performance is being affected. Many employees do report receiving negative responses to their disclosure, however, others report that they felt they were treated well and fairly. So how do organisations tackle this issue? The first step is to acknowledge that mental health is an important part of general health and as such you will have employees who are affected at times. Then understand that not all

employees with mental health issues will be impacted in their work functioning, but if they are then it is important that they feel safe to disclose their issues so that the employer can work with them to meet your obligations to them and other employees and provide appropriate support, while still managing the organisation’s needs. When implemented, appropriate strategies can help greatly improve an organisation’s culture of mental health and wellbeing, to the point where employees feel that it is safe to disclose any mental health issues and get the support that they need.

Written by Tasha Broomhall


Developing a culture of positive mental health and wellbeing AWARENESS RAISING Information to proactively develop positive mental health and wellbeing Information in your workplace available in various formats (on intranet/regularly in newsletters/posters/reference cards with info services) - General mental health awareness information - Specific illness information - Information for specific groups (new parents/ carers/culturally diverse/LGBTIQ) - General Lunch and Learn sessions to raise awareness of mental health as part of overall health - Policy and procedure that is implemented and communicated - Communication about the EAP provider so people are familiar with it Talk about mental health whenever you talk about physical health (e.g. Agenda items for OSH meetings)

Skill Development Training at induction that includes the importance of mental health and wellbeing and your EAP program and how to access it Proactive stress management and resilience building training available for all staff Specific training for leaders on their roles and responsibilities around mental health in the workplace Specific training for leaders around creating positive workplace cultures Specific training for leaders around positively managing change General training for staff about how to have a conversation with someone that they are concerned about (how to provide support and encourage someone to get help while maintaining appropriate boundaries)

Behavioural Integration Support to refresh and implement skills learned in training Mentoring for managers who have ongoing issues supporting staff with mental health issues Videos and online learning to reinforce skills that can be accessed at any time to refresh knowledge and skills when planning actions Ongoing support to talk through issues for support and coaching as and when they arise

Copyright Blooming Minds 2016 If you want to implement this in your organisation contact us here




How growing your cultural intelligence can increase mental health According to Ang & van Dyne Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is the capability to function effectively across national, ethnic and organisational cultures. This can include how we interact with different genders or across different generations. Sounds like common sense? You may not be as culturally intelligent as you think! Are you well-travelled? Do you speak more than one language? Do you have heaps of technical expertise or book knowledge? Do you have high Emotional Intelligence (EQ)? It is a myth that ANY of these would make you more culturally intelligent. (Livermore, 2014)

High EQ enables you to read and react appropriately to different emotions, but EQ is culturally bound. You could have a great understanding of appropriate behaviour in a particular cultural setting, but this may be exactly the opposite in another cultural setting. Higher CQ will decrease burnout in the workplace, increase your cross-cultural adaptability and increase your bottom line in the long run (Livermore, 2014). It will also increase your situational awareness and ultimately enable you to build better, stronger relations. By being able to form stronger relations you’ll not only be able to improve your own mental health, but those around you will feel more included and less isolated.

Contributor Writer Tanya Finnie


Tanya’s 5 top tips for increasing your Cultural Intelligence

1. Know yourself

Understand your own value system. Only by having an understanding of who you are, where you come from and more importantly why you make decisions in a certain way, can you begin to adapt and understand others better.

2. Grow your cultural awareness

Be aware of other cultures around you. Pay attention to the behaviour of others and what it is that drives their behaviour. Awareness grows understanding and understanding will give you an edge to negotiate.

3. Be proactive rather than reactive

Many organisations contact me when things start falling apart. Let’s adopt the Chinese approach where you only pay the doctor when you are healthy, for only then has he done his job properly. By anticipating how you can adapt your behaviour and react earlier, or not react to certain scenarios, you can be more productive in the long run. It is much more exhausting to be constantly reactive.

4. Build rapport by adapting your style

Adapt your style when you speak to someone to mirror (not copy) their body language when you speak to them. People like people who are similar to them – so be open to adapting your style. (Don’t change your personality, but sometimes little gestures can make a difference.)

5. Read cultural signs

Observe people in their natural state when they talk about something they are passionate about. Look at what they do with their body language – their hands, their expressions, and note their tone of voice and pitch. Be aware of when this changes and draw the conversation back to their natural state. There will be awkward moments, but no one should completely change who they are and how they do things in order to fit in. Frankly those who over emphasise a bow or a handshake, which would not be their normal greeting, can make things worse. Remember: We are all different. Others are not wrong or right, just different. If you would like to measure and grow your CQ or the CQ of your team, contact Tanya Finnie from RedHead Communications.

Tanya Finnie is an expert in building relations and installing confidence in individuals. Tanya has consulted in a variety of rural community and government based projects throughout Africa and Western Australia. Her work in remote communities and the corporate world provided some great case studies on the impact culture has on relationships. She is passionate about bringing people together through building rapport and culturally appropriate communication.


Ageism in the Workplace Ageism

is prejudging or making assumptions about a person, or people because of their age. Regarding employment, disadvantaging an individual because of their age happens when an individual’s experience, talent, wisdom, existing skills and future potential is hindered by another’s assumptions, misconceptions, and stereotyping, based on age. Ageism affects all age groups in the workplace and is often considered the cultural norm.

Age discrimination

is ageism in action and in the workforce this means favouring certain age groups, and sidelining others. The first national survey into age discrimination in the workplace in Australia found that over 25% of Australians aged over 50 experienced some form of prejudice. Many said they suffered stress, mental health issues or diminished self-esteem. The ripple effect is the negative impact on their families, finances and careers. This is powerful evidence of the senseless waste of valuable resources. The wisdom and experience of older workers in the workplace is being lost. There is also an increased strain on welfare services. With increasing longevity, a person leaving the workforce in their 50s due to discrimination, may have an additional 40 years or more without paid work. Common complaints in the national survey were: • Missing out on training opportunities • Being passed over for promotion opportunities • Being considered too slow to learn new skills • Being judged about no longer having the appropriate skills. • They were often the butt of ageist jokes, or threatened with the sack because of their age. So what steps can you take to build an age positive culture? Read on to learn about our seven strategies for reducing ageism in your workplace.

Contributor Writer Maree Wrack 20

7 strategies to reduce ageism in your workplace:

1. Training and retention opportunities The working lifeline of a mature worker today can generally be described as a linear model. Learn (education), then earn (paid employment) and then retire (conventional ‘retirement’). Be loyal, stay in your job, be consistent and you’ll be rewarded. It’s time to recognise that this old model is over, and ‘retirement’ is currently on life support. Conversely, younger workers may have as many as fifteen careers during their working life. It is easy for older workers to think that younger workers aren’t loyal, or reliable. That’s an example of ageism, and it’s all-pervasive. Times have changed. Having many careers is the new model for the future. Many workers feel unappreciated and disrespected. It’s time to be proactive in retaining them regardless of their age. Being able to maintain a strong knowledge base also saves countless hours, and the high cost in training new team members. Being proactive in developing, reviewing or updating your staff retention strategy will return dividends.

2. When will you be ‘retiring’?

Starting a dialogue with mature workers about when they are going to retire, is a conversation that most managers resist having. Mature workers are also reluctant to discuss the situation in case they are made redundant. Everything can be resolved through communication. It is about working with each other; involving the leadership team of the organisation up front, and providing a context for where things are heading. The most important step is building trust. Everyone within the organisation needs to be confident and feel supported in sharing his or her plans well ahead of time.

3. Transition to ‘retirement’

Supporting mature workers in their transition to ‘retirement’ has countless benefits including increasing workforce participation. There is a tendency for people to place an emphasis on planning their financial future, while often overlooking other lifestyle aspects. Conversely, they may be thinking about 'retiring' in the next few years, but feel apprehensive about whether they will have enough money or not. Providing training for employees in ‘retirement’ transition will support them to make informed choices. This is best done within an agreed transition time frame, with support from an

external provider/program. Adjusting to a new phase of life involves changes in structure and routine, so building a firm foundation at the beginning will make a lasting difference. Encouraging and supporting employees to create their future by make informed career and financial decisions, can extend their contribution as valued members of the organisation.

4. Health and wellbeing

Ensuring your workplace is taking steps to actively promote and encourage health and wellbeing through regular initiatives, will build a healthier workplace going forward. In terms of building a productive ‘ageing’ workforce for the future, the physical aspects of keeping fit are everything. Encouraging employees to keep physically active, impacts on both physical and emotional health. Building a healthier organisation will result in a happier workplace that supports longevity.

5. Embracing age diversity

Leading and managing an increasingly diverse workforce has become one of the current agendas of the Australian workplace. With such a varied landscape of cultures and religions there is an increasing focus on diverse and inclusive workplaces. We need to also ensure that age positive values are being embedded throughout the organisation. Age diversity is not just about specific initiatives for the ‘ageing’ workforce. Taking an integrated age diverse approach is important for achieving the best outcomes with any initiative. If you don’t implement it as an overall engagement, there will be a divisive response.

6. Issues of risk management

Providing a safe working environment is important to significantly extend the working life of valued employees. This involves developing and reviewing, or updating occupational health and safety strategies, to identify and address risks in the workplace. Actions regarding the prevention of workplace accident and injury must be addressed.

7. Time to take action – a workplace of meaning and purpose In summary, we are heading for a demographic time bomb. Business will have to deal with it sometime, and the time to start is now. Like any cultural shift, it will take time. Organisations that choose to act on the challenge of the ‘ageing’ workforce now by embracing age diversity and building an age positive workplace where work-life meaning and purpose count, will be the winners.

Maree Wrack

A Conversational Dynamics Specialist with over 25 years’ experience, Maree Wrack works with organisational leaders and teams in shifting cultural conversations and transforming performance. As a professional speaker & author of two books, Maree enables people to build relationships and results between hello and goodbye with quality conversations. +61 (0) 418 941 847


Nourishing the mind, body & spirit through


Horticultural Therapy is a flexible and accessible practice that can benefit people of all ages and abilities, and can bring about positive transformational change in people’s lives by nourishing the mind, body and spirit. The therapeutic benefits of gardening have long been known, and in places like Europe and North America the field of horticultural therapy is flourishing. Gardening on an individual level can produce benefits such as improved physical health, calming and soothing the mind, improving confidence through nurturing plants and undertaking meaningful activity. Horticultural therapy is also practiced in larger settings, in community gardens and on farms in a concept known as care or social farming. There are over 1,000 social farms in Holland, with several

hundred across both the UK and North America who are providing therapeutic experiences through connecting and working with nature. A new social enterprise in Western Australia, called Growing Change, has brought the concept of social farming to our door step, and ground work for a small urban farm, known as Fremantle Social Farm is currently underway. The Fremantle Social Farm is getting set to grow vegetables, herbs and fruit for sale to local restaurants and provide social horticulture experiences to promote social connection, mental health and wellbeing, and encourage active aging. A garden bed rental scheme will also be open to anyone to hire a small space at the farm, and enjoy the social, mental, physical and spiritual benefits of gardening alongside our

program participants and urban farmers. Expressions of interest in private bed rentals or our social horticulture programs are currently been accepted.

To find out more, please visit and or email

RenĂŠe Gardiner, Founder & CEO, Growing Change RenĂŠe Gardiner is the founder & CEO of Growing Change, a social enterprise dedicated to eliminating social isolation and smashing the stigma attached to mental illness. She lives and breathes social innovation and loves working in the dirt.


Learn when and whereonline you course want Mental Health in the Workplace for Leaders

Do your managers and supervisors know how to appropriately respond to mental health issues in their employees? Do they understand their obligations around privacy and confidentiality? 4 online modules self-paced with optional personalised assessment of learning. Each module has videos, a recorded lesson and support notes. Managers, supervisors and leaders learn about common mental health issues, their obligations to employees and appropriate strategies to respond to mental health issues in the workplace. To find out more visit

your next keynote speaker Does your organisation deserve a dynamic and engaging presenter, highly regarded for their keynotes and plenary presentations?

Tasha Broomhall, the author of many titles including BLOOM! Mental Health and Wellbeing, whose approachable presentation style make her a must see speaker for any conference or workplace. Enhance your delegates understanding of mental health with a humorous and uplifting keynote crafted to engage, inform and inspire.

Recent keynotes include: • Change: Through the Looking Glass. Shake up attitudes toward change in your organisation • Mental Health and Wellbeing: The Top 5 Tips. Practical ways to work toward mental wellbeing • How to Keep Blooming Minds and Minds Blooming: Unique insights for keeping your organisation mentally healthy • Stress or Blooming? Sow the seeds of success and nurture wellbeing in the workplace

To watch an example of Tasha speaking passionately about mental health, click here! Practical tools and advice to identify and manage mental illness in the workplace in a way that supports the individual and the business needs. Excellent presentation, good examples, entertaining. It was fun and really useful!

C Bam Manager, Department of Commerce

Email or call Anna on 0409 922 155


APPRAISING PERFORMANCE Chris gets an e-mail from the boss. Oh damn, it’s performance review time again. Attached is all the paperwork he has to fill out prior to his review meeting. Without even opening it Chris can feel the tension rising in his shoulders. He thinks “ Maybe if I didn’t have to spend time doing stuff like this I would have the time to do that report that the CFO wanted yesterday, plus everything else I have to get done this week before I even start on the month end process.” Chris feels like banging his head against his desk in frustration and contemplates not even doing the paperwork, wondering if it will even make a difference. Meanwhile in the other office Chris’s boss, Terry, is not too happy either. When he signed up to become a manager he thought it was his chance to make a difference in the Company, but he feels like all he ever does is paperwork. Doing appraisals is never a fun job and it never seems to make a difference to the work getting done at the end of the day. Terry thinks “Just one more piece of bureaucracy to make my life a misery!”

This is an all too common occurrence around the world. Not too many people get excited about the annual performance review. In general, the majority of employees and managers find performance reviews to be stressful, costly, time consuming and a one-way monologue without follow-up. Dr Tim Baker has interviewed 1200 managers and HR professionals while researching performance appraisals. In asking questions about the shortcomings of appraisals, two of his eight main findings were: 1) That most people find appraisals stressful, and 2) that performance appraisals can cause more harm than good (Baker, 2013). Stress and damage to the mental health of employees and managers can occur as a result of any of the following issues relating to Performance Management reviews: • The bad reputation such reviews have within society, which helps to create a sense of dread when contemplating doing one. • The use of traditional reviews, which are based on the assumption that the manager knows best, even when they do not. This creates a perception that you have a lack of

control in the review outcome. This creates a feeling of hopelessness. • A focus on the negative aspects of performance reviews and a lack of knowledge, understanding and application of the positive aspects of performance reviews. • Insufficient training and support to managers resulting in badly conducted reviews, which results in damage to working relationships. • The confrontational nature of the traditional review, in which individuals are summoned by their manager to a review to hear what someone thinks of their performance. In general, people do not like to confront others because of the uncertainty as to how that person would react and the assumption that they are most likely going to react badly. • A lack of feedback during the year from management, which is often saved up and handed down in one go at performance appraisal time. This can blindside and offend the employee, creating negativity and defensiveness in the employee which can lead to damage in their relationship with the manager and the Company.

Companies conduct these reviews to: • Define an employee’s goals, required outputs and how they will be assessed. • Determine an employee’s development opportunities that will lead to Company improvements. • Provide evidence that employees are actively involved in understanding the requirements of their jobs and their performance. • Assess one employee against another for the purposes of determining promotion, pay and recognition. • Dr Baker proposes a new viable alternative to the traditional appraisal reviews, suggesting that we can achieve the company’s goals using his unique ‘Five Conversations’ of ten to fifteen minutes each. • The key features of his approach are: • A focus on the employee’s point of view in regards to performance improvement • Ongoing dialogue over the course of the year • A transparent and direct approach

by focusing on specific performance improvement themes at each conversation • Flexibility, in which the conversations can be conducted around normal work duties • Timely output from the conversations that assist with business planning and strategy • A more relaxed approach that removes the mental stress and pressure associated with an annual or bi-annual approach This is a fresh approach to managing performance that addresses many of the weaknesses of the traditional review and has the potential to minimise the stress and damage to mental health that we normally associate with performance reviews. It is designed to be less formal, more relaxed, more frequent, but less time consuming, and provides a more focused opportunity for the employee and manager to have a meaningful collaborative conversation about performance management related issues. And it is in these types of conversations that we will truly improve the performance of our employees, our managers and our businesses. Performance reviews can change from a negative, stressful process to a positive, value-adding one.

Narelle Di Trento (CAHRI) is the Director of Requisite HR, leading a small team of passionate HR professionals in Perth who provide flexible affordable HR Consultancy and Outplacement Services for small and medium sized businesses. Follow us at RequisiteHR

Contributor Writer Narelle Di Trento


Centrecare EAP

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) have their roots in the 1930’s and 40’s in America, with industry concerns over the cost of alcoholism. By 1974 the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse had adopted the term Employee Assistance Program to describe job performancebased intervention programs in the workplace. The Institute noted that whilst the deterioration in job performance could often be attributed to the misuse of alcohol, it could also be related to other personal problems. Thus, EAPs broadened the scope of employer involvement and evolved into multiservice programs to address

all types of personal problems, family and mental health problems that affect job performance, and the general personal welfare of workers. Australia has followed a similar trend, although started formally as a joint union-management initiative, endorsed by the ACTU and the Confederation of Australian Industry. EAPs in Australia have developed a reputation for helping to restore productivity to employees suffering from a range of personal/work related problems, with accompanying outcomes of reduced absenteeism, turnover and Workers’ Compensation costs.

Recent Australian research suggests employers are experiencing difficulty attracting and retaining valued workers. To attract and retain the best and the brightest people, companies are focussing on being “employers of choice” demonstrating a “people first agenda” which incorporates the idea that companies care and recognise that personal difficulties can impact on the work environment. According to a recent survey, the most powerful driver of workforce commitment is management’s recognition of personal and family life, which is associated with improved employee morale and productivity.

Centrecare Corporate provides a range of services including serious incident response, EAP counselling, conflict management services, mediation, executive coaching, manager support, organisational and clinical training, psychometric assessments, climate surveys and organisational development consultancy.

Are you engaging with a friend, colleague or family member with mental health issues? Come along and learn how to recognise that someone is in distress and how to appropriately respond to better support them and yourself.

Date: Tues 2nd & Wed 3rd August 2016 Time: 8:45am - 4pm Venue: Wollaston Conference Centre, Mt Claremont Cost: $375 plus GST. Includes catering and comprehensive course materials

To book contact or call Anna on 0409 922 155


Are You Stressed … or are you Blooming? A 5 Minute Self-Check Quiz

Please complete this survey based on how you are feeling currently, or over the past week. This survey is simply for your reference. It is not intended to diagnose, or treat any mental health issues you may have, but can be used to ‘check-in’ with yourself. 1. I feel tired when I wake up Very Untrue



Very True

2. I can be irritable (short-tempered) with family/friends/co-workers Very Untrue



Very True

3. I cannot think of ways to solve my current problems Very Untrue



Very True



Very True

4. I often feel ‘run-down’ Very Untrue

5. It is difficult for me to concentrate on tasks Very Untrue



Very True

6. I often find reasons not to do tasks expected of me at work/home Very Untrue



Very True

7. I often feel as though people expect perfection from me at all times Very Untrue



Very True


Very True

8. I have trouble organising my schedule Very Untrue


9. I often feel as though things are beyond my control Very Untrue



Very True

10. I often feel as though the demands placed on me are unrealistic Very Untrue



Very True


How did you do? Are You Stressed … or are you Blooming? Have a look at how you scored. Mostly ‘Very Untrue’

Keep it up! You’re Blooming! You currently are experiencing lower levels of stress in your work and personal life, but we recommend you ‘check-in’ with yourself on a monthly basis; review these results, and refer back to what is working for you right now to maintain your low stress levels.

Mostly ‘Untrue’

Right now you may be experiencing the normal ebbs and flows that are common to nearly everyone! We recommend you re-take this questionnaire every month to ensure you are still within this normal range. You may want to consider some strategies to help manage any stress you may be currently experiencing.

Mostly ‘True’

You may be experiencing some higher levels of stress. Start managing this stress today by participating in pleasant activities, doing some light to moderate exercise, practicing breathing exercises or by journaling (see our website for some ideas). It is important to minimise your use of alcohol and drugs at this point, and if you are concerned that you may need help, speak to your medical practitioner as soon as possible. We recommend that you re-evaluate yourself again in a week, and then monthly after your levels of stress have reached ‘Mostly Untrue’.

Mostly ‘Very True’

You are likely experiencing high levels of stress, and may feel like the messy end of this ‘squiggle’. It is good to be able to recognise that. Here is what you can do TODAY: • Consider how long you have been feeling this way. If you feel like this most days for more than two weeks, we recommend you contact your medical practitioner and discuss how you are feeling emotionally as well as physically. • If you have felt like this most days for less than two weeks, yet you are worried about yourself, you may want to seek the advice of your medical practitioner. • We recommend that you re-evaluate yourself again in a week, and then monthly after your levels of stress have reached ‘Mostly Untrue’. As well as seeking medical advice, follow some of the strategies listed above in the “Mostly True” section.



The Blooming and Buoyant course opens your eyes to behaviours you slip into doing everyday even though you don’t want to. It helps you to build positive plans to improve.

A. Best

Snr. Renewals Planner, Water Corporation

Tasha’s knowledge and passion is so infectious. It creates excitement in the room and provides security that it’s safe to raise issues. Such a warm facilitator, capable of handling sensitive issues with compassion and humour. It was a real pleasure to listen to Tasha and I will recommend this course to others.

E Christophers

Lead Facilitator, HBF

The Water Corporation has been using Blooming Minds for the last 2 and a 1/2 years to increase awareness about mental health issues and how they can impact employees, both directly and indirectly. Blooming Minds courses have added value to our organisations Health Promotion program. We anticipate increased productivity and reduced absentee and presenteeism will be worth the investment in engaging with Blooming Minds. In the early stages of the partnership we focused mainly on increasing awareness through programs Blooming Minds had already developed, however Tasha is flexible and open to working with our needs and developed a new program to specifically target some areas we had identified as in need of attention. Both Tasha and Angi are very engaging presenters and both very different and unique in their approach to engage staff in attendance. Blooming Minds usually go that extra step in their delivery by incorporating resources such as CD’s, books and gifts rather than simple PowerPoint presentations and basic handouts. Their follow up reporting and feedback provided to us as a corporation is also timely and beneficial for us to assess the requirements of staff and plan ahead for our mental health training. I would recommend Blooming Minds to any organisation looking to implement a program to help assist in improving the mental well being of their most important asset - their staff. The Water Corporation continue to engage with Blooming Minds in both our metropolitan locations and regional areas to deliver mental health awareness and training courses.

J. Malcolm

Health Promotion Coordinator, Water Corporation


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