Council takes out 2018 StateCover WHS Excellence Award

Cessnock City Council has been recognised for its commitment to mental health by StateCover taking out first prize in their Work, Health and Safety Excellence Awards

Cessnock City Council has been recognised for its commitment to mental health by StateCover taking out first prize in their Work, Health and Safety Excellence Awards.  

Council identified mental health as a Work, Health and Safety issue following a staff consultation where 83% of staff had experience with mental illness, either personally or through a family member or friend. This is no surprise as statistics released by HealthStats NSW reflect the prevalence of mental health in the Hunter New England Local Health District.  

In response, Council established a Mental Health Work Group made up of staff from both the indoor and outdoor teams. This group developed a comprehensive strategy to reduce the stigma around mental illness, increase awareness and highlight avenues to seek support both in the workforce and in the community.  

Council’s General Manager, Stephen Glen said a range of actions were implemented that put mental health in the spotlight for the entire organisation.  

“The Work Group developed an eye catching logo and brand that helped communicate the key messages of the initiative. The ‘Mental Health Matters’ logo and ‘Kick the Stigma Ninja’ are now very well known around our organisation. They’ve been printed on everything from posters, flyers, uniforms, coffee cups, key rings and even on car air fresheners that hang proudly in every Council vehicle.”  

“A group of 30 staff have now been trained as Mental Health First Aiders. This has resulted in an increase in the number of staff seeking professional advice, through making initial contact with internal staff who guide them to seek professional support.”  

StateCover CEO, Linda Bostock said StateCover’s WHS Excellence Awards acknowledge Councils for significant initiatives that improved WHS performance in a sustainable and innovative way.  

“Mental health issues impact workers, their families and the broader community. Through the awards, StateCover is proud to recognise our member Cessnock City Council’s efforts for their comprehensive programs to improve awareness and reduce the stigma of these issues, and to provide support for affected workers and their families. Council worked to improve the mental wellbeing of their workers and demonstrates an ongoing commitment to health and safety of their workforce."  

The initiative is here to stay and Council look forward to seeing positive outcomes amongst the workforce including kicking the stigma of mental health.