2021 Media releases

Free Mental Health First Aid training

Fruit Growers Tasmania | Tuesday, 3 August 2021, 11.00am

Fruit Growers Tasmania in conjunction with Rural Alive and Well (RAW) are delighted to be offering Tasmanian fruit growers the opportunity to attend a free Mental Health First Aid course.

The 2-day accredited training courses will be held in Brighton on 24 and 25 August and in Launceston on 8 and 9 September, with up to 22 people attending for free at each location.

Fruit Growers Tasmania CEO, Peter Cornish said, “This is such a great outcome from our recent Fruit Growers Industry Awards dinner where some of our generous members and supporters got together to think of ways they could assist our growers here in Tasmania.

“The usual cost for attendance at these courses is $250 per person but thanks to $10,000 in generous sponsorship from FAVCO Qld, Fresh Produce Group and Steritech we can train 44 people across the state for free. It’s such an important subject that thankfully people are becoming more comfortable to talk about, and an area where employers want to be better able to support their workers. We couldn’t be prouder to be involved in facilitating this training for our growers.”

Mental health illness costs Australian organisations $150 million a year in workers compensation, but only 22 per cent of workers receive treatment for their mental illness. Research shows for every $1 spent on mental health training, it returns $7 in value. Mental health training is all about early intervention, helping people before it gets out of control, and causes loss of work time. But most importantly, it’s about improving people’s health and well-being.

Darren Clark, RAW Workplace Training Manager said, “During the 2 day course participants will learn how to assist an adult who may be experiencing a mental health problem or mental health crisis until appropriate professional help is received or the crisis resolves, using a practical, evidence-based action plan. The course is based on guidelines developed through the expert consensus of people with lived experience of mental health problems and professionals.”

Viny Byrne from FAVCO Qld, an associate member of FGT, said: “This is a great opportunity to assist getting trained people into rural communities to help those suffering in silence with mental health issues.”

Brendan Lai from Fresh Produce Group said, “Emptiness and self-isolation is a result of carrying the weight of happiness for others. Depression is something you don’t know you are in until you are out. Use the help, use your friendships and use your family, life has a better path. Trust me as I was there.

“We’re glad to be a part of a program to help others through difficult times and letting our industry know there is help available.”

Ben Reilly from Steritech, an associate member of FGT, added: “This is another way for our industry to contribute positively to the people and communities which are so important to it.”

The mental health first aid program is based on international guidelines and to date 2 million mental health first aiders have been trained in 23 countries. The program has been well evaluated and found to be effective in improving mental health literacy, reducing stigma and increasing helping behaviours.

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