Do you, your staff or your business deal with people affected by drought? 

One of the many challenges when working in drought-affected areas is that you may be exposed to the consequences of mental distress, as you go about your day-to-day work. 

For this reason, it’s important that you and/or your staff have the skills to recognise when someone you are working with is experiencing mental distress; this requires the skills and understanding to keep engaging or safely withdraw, as appropriate. However, having to experience these types of stressful or risky situations can impact you and/or your staff, even after the situation is over. This can cause what is known as vicarious trauma and its in the best interest of your workplace that the issue is recognised, and that appropriate supports are in place or readily accessible to affected staff.

Lack of selfcare skills and supports, combined with longterm exposure to critical incidents, or sharing the unaddressed emotional responses of other workplace colleagues, can also lead to what we know as cumulative trauma. This is basically stuff that builds up over time and spills out at home or at work. 

Businesses, managers and staff have a shared responsibility to acknowledge these issues and to acquire appropriate skills for work in the field, how to manage the business response when staff return to work and how to manage personal responses at work and at home. 

The Outer Gippsland Drought & Fire Mental Health & Wellbeing Partnershipestablished through a Victorian Government funding initiativehas combined with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Lifeline Australia, to deliver a Frontline Workforce and Business Training package to people in East Gippsland and Wellington who are affected by drought. 

This three-session training package supports businesses, managers and staff to create and maintain a mentally healthy workplace by developing work plans that are responsive to staff and business needs. Staff who aren’t counsellors will also learn communication and basic counselling skills if they find themselves in ‘difficult’ situations. Stress management and self-care issues are also a key part of the program.  

This training comprises of three sessions delivered over four weeks in Bairnsdale oSale, with sessions 1 and 3 providing mental health training for managers, while session 2 is designed for other frontline staff. Participants choose to attend all three three sessions in either Bairnsdale or Sale. The training dates and times are as follows (but may be subject to change):

Session 1 (for managers):

  • Sale – Tuesday 29 October 2019, 12pm-4.30pm
  • Bairnsdale – Wednesday 30 October 2019, 9am-1.30pm

Session 2 (for staff):

  • Sale – Wednesday 6 November 2019, 9.30am-4pm
  • Bairnsdale – Tuesday 12 November 2019, 9.30am-4pm

Session 3 (for managers):

  • Sale – Tuesday 26 November 2019, 12pm-2.30pm
  • Bairnsdale – Wednesday 27 November 2019, 9am-11.30am

To reserve your place at the training, contact Project Coordinator, Andre Zonn on ph: 0429 953 063 or email