THE operator of Adelaide Metro train services, Keolis Downer, has committed to training local frontline staff in Mental Health First Aid, in a bid to drive recognition and support for mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.
The commitment coincided with Rail R U OK? Day on Thursday 29 April, which encourages rail employees to check-in on each other.
Managing director of Keolis Downer Adelaide, Robert Tatton-Jones, said the company is committed to supporting the mental and physical wellbeing of its employees across Adelaide’s rail network.
“By participating in Rail R U OK? Day and training our staff in Mental Health First Aid, we’re aiming to provide a stronger, safer and more supportive workplace environment,” Tatton-Jones said.
“Some of our customer experience team leaders and driver managers, will complete a Mental Health First Aid Training Course, to upskill and develop an in-depth understanding of mental health problems in the workplace.
“We’re encouraging meaningful conversations within the rail industry, no matter what your role and to look after each other even further, by asking, – Are You Okay?”
Health, safety, quality and environment director of Keolis Downer Adelaide, Sandra Wilson-Ryke, knows firsthand the heartbreak of losing her best friend and younger brother Scott to a mental illness, two years ago.
“My heart remains heavy with sadness and there isn’t a day that goes by when I am not thinking about Scott – he was only 49 years old,” Sandra said.
Adelaide-born Scott Wilson was a well-known advocate for men’s health and mental health, and as an entrepreneur, had a successful international events career.
“Scott seemed to have it all. A loving partner, a career that enabled him to travel all over the world and financial freedom. His death came as a real shock to our entire family.
“I am very proud to work at Keolis Downer Adelaide and participate in Rail R U OK? Day and have Mental Health First Aiders as part of our team, who are specifically trained to support us.
“It gives you the confidence to check-in on others, even if there are no obvious signs that they are doing it tough.
“Life can be challenging for us all, whether it’s dealing with anxiety, depression, relationship breakdowns or trying to overcome the stress of a trauma.”
R U OK? has four simple steps to start a conversation: Ask, Listen, Encourage action and Check-in.
The rail industry’s harm prevention charity, the TrackSAFE Foundation, says rail workers often face various challenges at work and may be exposed to traumatic incidents.
The Foundation’s executive director, Heather Neil, said they were thrilled to have Keolis Downer Adelaide onboard, and also recognise the importance of Mental Health First Aid Training for frontline staff.
“Following the challenges of the last 12 months, there’s never been a more important time to connect and regularly check-in with those around us. The TrackSAFE Foundation encourages rail employees to support and engage with one another, and during our busy working days, take the time to listen to one another,” she said.
“Rail R U OK? is more than just a day, it’s a movement that aims to empower rail workers to identify the signs that someone might not be OK and offer guidance on how to listen and also how to help.”
Keolis Downer recognises the importance of ensuring the mental health and wellbeing of all employees and has close to 50 Mental Health First Aiders working across its network at Yarra Trams in Melbourne, on the Gold Coast and in Newcastle.