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Creating a Mentally Healthy Workplace

We sat down with Colleen Ryan, New South Wales State Lead to discuss mental health and how Everyday Independence supports our people’s mental resilience, health and wellbeing.

Colleen brings extensive leadership and experience as an occupational therapist to lead our teams in New South Wales to make inclusion a reality for people with disabilities living in the state.  As an accredited mental health first aid trainer, Colleen will deliver mental health first aid training to our team members to support our focus on growing our mentally healthy workplace.

Colleen is passionate about breaking down the stigma around mental health and equipping people with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to manage their well-being and support others seeking assistance.

How did you Discover Your Passion for Mental Health? 

I developed a passion for positive mental health and mental health advocacy earlier in my career after seeing its positive impact on individuals and employers.  I was fortunate to undertake training as an accredited mental health first aid instructor 14 years ago, and I’ve been delivering mental health first aid courses since.

In delivering this course, and as a practitioner, I’ve encountered many people who were scared or unsure how to seek help for themselves or others.  After taking the course, many commented that they now feel equipped and confident about what to do and how valuable it would be as a life skills course. This motivates me and keeps me passionate about mental health first aid.

I’m passionate about upskilling people to be comfortable talking about mental health, to know what to look for and how to support someone experiencing signs and symptoms or seeking help.

Colleen Ryan, New South Wales Lead

Tell us about your Mental Health Role

I’m excited to work closely with our People and Culture team to further embed mental health training across the organisation. We currently have 12 certified mental health first aiders in teams across Australia, and I’ll deliver this training to 30 people.

Part of my role as the NSW State Lead is to support my teams to build resilience,  empower them to look after their own well-being and health, and continue to build on our culture so that our team members feel comfortable talking about mental health and are supported when they need help.

What Support do Mental Health First-aiders Provide?  

The research suggests that one in three people will personally experience or know someone who will experience mental illness in their lifetime.

Our Mental Health First Aiders learn about the signs and symptoms of mental health and the practical skills needed to support a person experiencing a mental health program. They’ll also delve deeply into the scaffolding available at Everyday Independence to help people experiencing mental ill health.

How is Everyday Independence Creating a Healthy Working Environment? 

Everyday Independence takes a holistic approach to creating a working environment where our people are happier and healthier.  Supporting our people’s health and well-being is embedded in our culture and values. Our value – championing the person, is about empowering our people to engage in everyday life, thriving at work and outside work.

We offer a range of initiatives, training and programs, including:

  • employee assistance program to provide confidential counselling and support services to employees and their immediate family members
  • taking part in events, celebrations and initiatives that support well-being, such as RU Okay Day, World Mental Health Day, Steptember to name a few
  • recharge days which provide team members with two days per year to ‘recharge and unwind’
  • coaching to support our people to identify and pursue their goals
  • everyday activities to encourage our people to stay active and have fun as a team or individuals
  • everyday flex, and paid parental leave to help our people to balance everyday life and parental and family responsibilities
  • access to resources on mental health, mindfulness, and resilience, and more

At Everyday Independence, we are proud of our culture, which provides team members with ongoing opportunities for growth whilst also supporting them to overcome challenges that might prevent them from achieving their goals.

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