Clare, OzHelp Foundation Tasmania

Recently, MHCT spoke to incoming Executive Officer, Clare from OzHelp Foundation Tasmania. OzHelp Tasmania works in the suicide prevention space, delivering education and support to workplaces incorporating mental health and wellbeing services designed to reduce the loss of life through suicide and to develop resilient, resourceful and productive workforces. 

Like many of our member representatives, Clare brings a range of skills and experience to her role with OzHelp, joining four years ago as their Administration and Training Manager. Clare has over 20 years’ experience in what she terms the, ‘not for profit club’, and explained how her skills and experience in the performing arts, communications and workplace development and training sectors all assisted her to transition successfully into this dynamic, challenging and rewarding role with OzHelp.

When asked to describe what she enjoys most about her work, Clare said she loved getting feedback from organisations after workshops. “I know it sounds clichéd, but when you get a chance to bring about change within an organisation and support a new approach to workplace mental health, you really do feel like you’ve made a difference”. 

OzHelp has evolved significantly since its beginnings in 2007, originally providing training and support to the building and construction industry. Since branching out to support all other industries, Clare and the team have worked with Hobart City Council, Statewide Independent Wholesalers and Hydro Tasmanian, amongst others, “People may not be aware that we have capacity to travel to every corner of the state - including King and Flinders Islands!”.

Like any job, there are challenges, including short funding cycles and timeframes, and the challenge of measuring the impact of prevention work. “Sure, we can measure increased EAP visits in some cases, and we seek feedback about whether participant knowledge has increased and whether they’re more likely to support their own mental health as a result of OzHelp being involved, but it’s more difficult to quantify how many suicides might have been prevented or how rates of suicidal ideation might have been reduced”. 

Taking care of yourself is a key focus for Clare, “Everyone’s self-care plan is different and changes over time. For me, right now, it’s a mix of getting enough sleep, enough exercise and drinking little to no alcohol”. Clare was also willing to share that she recently restarted an old relationship with exercise again, and it is an important part of her self-care routine.

When chatting about MHCT’s, Moving towards a mentally health Tasmania campaign, Clare emphasised the critical role education plays in stigma reduction, “By using simple language, we can create a shared understanding of how to keep ourselves and those around us healthy.” 

MHCT would like to thank OzHelp’s outgoing CEO, Doug Vautier, for his enormous to the lives of so many and to the sector. We wish him luck as he heads overseas to be closer to family, and we look forward to working with Clare and the team as OzHelp. 

Visit OzHelp to learn more about their work, including the, ‘How’s it going’ campaign. #forallofus

 

kaitlyn graham