September 6, 2018

Mental Wellness: Kicking off the conversation

“Conversations build empathy, and empathy becomes the glue that binds people in healthy work environments together” – Layne Stretton, Roses in the Ocean.

‘Conversations on Mental Wellness’ kicks off next Monday on 10 September.

James Malachi, R U OK? Ambassador, will be speaking at the Northern Health Bundoora Conference Room at 2 pm, the same time Layne Stretton will be speaking at NCHER Lecture Theatre.

James’ presentation aims to strengthen our sense of belonging, “because we know people are there for us”. Layne will look at the impact that suicide can have on families, communities and individuals.

He will do so through the lens of personal experiences, talking about his reactions over a 15 year period after his brother’s death, culminating in getting the help and support that he needed.

We asked them both what the theme of conversations in the workplace means to them.

“Staying connected and having meaningful conversations is something we can all do,” James tells us.

“You don’t need to be an expert – just a good friend and a great listener. So, if you notice someone who might be struggling – start a conversation!”

Layne tells us at Roses in the Ocean, they believe the more people open up in this area, the more they give permission and empowerment for others to use their voices.

“The telling of stories is still the most powerful medium for gaining attention, emotional connection and changing attitudes,” he said.

“When a person’s courage and vulnerability is expressed through communication, it opens up dialogue in areas that were repressed or forgotten. It builds intimacy, empathy and hope.”

‘Conversations on Mental Wellness’ showcases Northern Health’s commitment to a psychologically safe workplace, and how we provide tangible steps towards a number of actions, including raising awareness, combating stigma, suicide prevention and promoting positive mental health.

Speakers and sessions will run until R U OK? Day to close the program on Thursday 13 September.

To start the conversation, please click here.