Regional leaders step up to address mental health

Did you know 1 in 2 Queenslanders will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives and tragically for 804 Queenslanders, their lives ended in suicide in 2017. Each and every suicide is a tragedy.

Research also indicates Queensland has the second highest rate of suicide in Australia leaving devastated families, friends, colleagues and communities.

Within the Queensland public sector, a group of Darling Downs regional leaders are stepping up to address the stigma around mental health and suicide – working towards better outcomes for their local community.

Katie Williams, Deputy Chair of the Regional Managers Coordination Network, says the region has witnessed the instability of mental health within the community and the increased pressures this place on the region’s workforce.

“That’s why we have established the Healthy Minds Network to focus specifically on mental health and suicide prevention in the region,” says Katie.

“The network is based on a model of collaborative governance, information sharing, and mutual interest in delivering improved whole-of-government outcomes in the regional workforce. By bringing together staff from across the region, the network is creating a unified culture that promotes and encourages a respectful, destigmatising, and supportive approach to the management of mental health and wellbeing.

“Through building skills and knowledge, sharing lessons learned, providing insight into our workforce needs, and collaborating with peers, the network will help guide our journey to better mental health.”

Research indicates suicide can be prevented if individuals, communities and government and non-government sectors work together and adopt more compassionate approaches to those in distress.

The approach that Darling Downs is taking, recognises that suicide prevention is everyone’s business and that it is only through collaborative and well-coordinated effort that suicide rates can be reduced.

The good news is that there are many simple things that we can all do in our workplaces to help make a positive change, including completing the Everyday conversations for healthy minds program. You can also learn from other agencies and their efforts.

Also, the Queensland Government’s Every life: The Queensland Suicide Prevention Plan 2019–2029 aims to create and support a healthy and inclusive Queensland where everyone can access the support they need, achieve positive mental health and wellbeing and live their lives with meaning and purpose.

Queensland Mental Health Commission mental health statistics graphic

If you, or anyone you know are in need of support or experiencing mental health issues, please visit the GasFields Commission’s Health and Wellbeing webpage to view the countless support services that are available across numerous platforms (phone, online, face-to-face).

For more information on the establishment of the ‘Healthy Minds Network’, visit: Queensland Government Employee News webpage.

To download the Queensland Government’s Every life: The Queensland Suicide Prevention Plan 2019–2029, visit: Queensland Mental Health Commission website.

Who are the GasFields Commission Queensland?

Established as an independent statutory body in 2013, the Commission’s purpose is to manage and improve the sustainable coexistence of landholders, regional communities and the onshore gas industry in Queensland. The Commission manages sustainable coexistence in petroleum and gas producing regions of Queensland, and will continue to do so as the industry expands into new and emerging basins.

Our vision is to achieve thriving communities in areas of gas development that are free from discord and supported by well-informed, respectful and balanced stakeholder relationships.

One way the Commission is endeavouring to realise this vision is by providing transparency and independent assurances that the onshore gas industry is appropriately regulated and held to account when needed. This in turn will help cultivate sustainable coexistence, whilst ensuring community and landholder confidence in the regulators and gas industry increases.

Drawing on its wealth of experience in the development of the gas industry and by collaborating with other relevant entities, the Commission provides a range of support to communities and landholders, primarily through education and engagement. These education and engagement activities occur with individual landholders via Commission facilitated webinars, information sessions, publications (The Gas Guide, Shared Landscapes Reports), face-to-face meetings and public workshops.

It should be noted that the Commission does not engage in individual negotiations between landholders and gas companies, but rather provides communities and landholders with the information and support they need to make informed decisions and achieve good outcomes.