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Health staff encouraged to talk more amid pressure

Gold Coast Health is using R U OK? Day to empower staff to address stress, depression and wellbeing in the workplace and at home. 

Staff are invited to reflect on their own wellness and that of their colleagues, family and friends by joining in a lunch-time event in the parklands at Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH) with food trucks, live entertainment, tips on how to start a conversation that could save a life and talks on reducing financial stress. 

Emergency Physician Dr Shahina Braganza, who works at GCUH, leads the OneED wellness program which has received international exposure for its focus on colleagues caring for colleagues in a busy hospital environment.

“R U OK? is a vitally important question but it’s only part of the question. For it to be most meaningful and effective two other concepts must exist,” Dr Braganza said.

“The first one is, we need to make it ok to not be ok and the second is we need to know how to respond if someone tells us that they’re not ok. To do this is to create an environment that is safe and supportive for all of us.

“One of the simple ways in which we can do this is by normalising the conversation around wellness. By sharing our own stories of struggle, and by making ourselves vulnerable because by doing so we give other people permission to struggle and we model to them that struggle is not a sign of weakness or failure,” Dr Braganza said.

People & Engagement Executive Director Hannah Bloch said the health service, which employs more than 8900 people, was working towards normalising the conversation around wellness.

“We are investing in the wellness of our clinical staff – the doctors, nurses, dentists, school-based nurses, allied health professionals and others who are directly caring for the Gold Coast community – because we know that it leads to better patient care.

R U OK? Day is a national event on 14 September which encourages public discussion of social isolation and its negative consequences, such as suicide.

Last updated 18 Sep 2017