May 10, 2022

Are you the new Peer Supporters?

Northern Health’s Wellbeing team is calling for staff interested in supporting their colleagues and creating a mentally healthy workforce, to become new Peer Supporters and help launch the new Peer Support Program.

Casey O’Brien, Wellbeing Project Psychologist, explains this is an opportunity to be part of a multi-disciplinary team assisting colleagues to cope with typical reactions to stressful events.

“Whether it is a work-related event or a personal challenges that our fellow employees may experience, Northern Health Peer Supporters will provide valuable, confidential support and a key link to further support where appropriate,” she said.

Peer Supporters will be volunteering their time and won’t be providing counselling or emergency response service. Instead, they will provide contact, support and a referral service, with an emphasis on brief, practical interventions, helping colleagues with work and non-work related issues.

“We are aiming to initially recruit 20 Peer Supporters and training will be provided for them,” says Casey.

Tameeka Robertson, Allied Health Education, is looking forward to the new program and will be applying to be a supporter. She is hoping to use her skills and expertise as an experienced Allied Health Supervisor and Educator to provide support to others in need and positively influence staff wellbeing.

“I think the Peer Support Program is a great initiative as a step towards embedding staff wellbeing into our culture here at Northern Health. It is well known how difficult the past few years have been for health professionals, and having a dedicated person you can turn to for support and advice that understands the complexities and stressors of being a health professional during a pandemic is invaluable,” she explains.

“Ensuring all staff have access to the support they need in their workplace has motivated me to apply to become a Peer Supporter. Having the skills and knowledge to effectively support my peers and colleagues from a variety of disciplines across the workplace makes me feel that I am making a difference to staff morale and positively influencing staff wellbeing across the organisation.”

Staff will be able to contact the new Peer Supporters between 7.30 am and 5.30 pm, five days a week. Peer Supporters will have their profiles on the Intranet, and all staff will have the opportunity to read the profiles and contact the Peer Supporter of their choice. The supporters would be contacted via email or via People and Culture reception.

Renee Camilleri, Wellbeing Advisor, added: “Peer support can be personally and professionally rewarding, offering opportunities to connect with fellow colleagues, listen and understand their concerns or challenges and provide practical and emotional support as well as appropriate referrals.”

Tameeka encourages all staff to be involved in this program, either as a Peer Supporter or as a staff member seeking peer support.

“Staff wellbeing is and will continue to be ever so important for healthcare workers as we grapple with the new norm,” she adds.

Would you like to know more and apply? Please see more information on the Intranet.

Featured image: Katherine Anderson, People and Culture, and Tameeka Robertson, Allied Health Education.