August 15, 2022

Peer support for Northern Health staff

To ensure our staff are supported, Northern Health is committed to strengthening our culture of care, and supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our staff.

We acknowledge that staff have different preferences and needs for how they wish to support their wellbeing, and we understand the importance of our staff having access to a variety of internal and external supports.

Renee Camilleri, Wellbeing Advisor, said staff wanted access to peer support, where they feel supported by a peer who shares the experience of working at Northern Health. This was how the Peer Support Program was born.

“The Northern Health Peer Support Program is an avenue for employee support provided by a trained group of Northern Health employees who volunteer their time,” she said.

“It is not a counselling or emergency response service. It is a contact, support, and referral service with an emphasis on brief, practical interventions, providing people with support across a range of work and non-work-related issues. Peer support is a short-term strategy to provide basic support to people in need.”

“This is an exciting initiative that the Wellbeing Team have been working towards launching since their onboarding last year.”

Casey O’Brien, Wellbeing Senior Psychologist, said, “Our Northern Health peer supporters are a wonderful, kind, and compassionate group, all with a shared vision to help their fellow colleagues, and strengthen the culture of care of our people.”

“The peers have been trained and skilled to respond to a variety of personal and work-related concerns our staff may face, and bring a wealth of diverse expertise and backgrounds to their interactions. Some peers have worked at Northern Health for many years, and all understand the challenges and strengths unique to working in a health service. We are so proud of our peers, their voluntary commitment to this important role, and their passion for living the values of safe, kind, and together. I encourage all staff to consider the Peer Support Program for yourselves or anyone you feel may need support.”

Michelle Fenwick, Executive Director, People & Culture, said she was excited the program she has been passionate about, is up and running.

“I am pleased that the People & Culture Wellbeing program has developed, trained, and is now going live at Northern Health,” she said.

“The Peer Support initiative is a program that gives our staff another touch point for them to access, and seek guidance or direction. Peer support gives staff the ability to speak to someone other than their manager or co-workers to seek guidance.”

For more information about the program and contact details of our Peer Supporters, please see our Intranet pages.

Featured image shows the Northern Health Peer Supporters.