RAW Mind Coach has won the 2018 Mental Health Matters Award for its work in helping support the mental health of more than 5000 employees at NSW Ambulance. The evidence-based e-learning program was rolled out across NSW Ambulance in April this year.
RAW Mind Coach teaches workers mindfulness and a range of other skills and strategies that can be employed throughout their daily lives. NSW Ambulance Learning & Development Program Specialist, Jackie Myenhart, believes it’s not just emergency service workers who would benefit from RAW Mind Coach, saying “these are must-have skills for emergency services personnel. Actually, they are must-have skills for anyone.”
The program has been positively received at NSW Ambulance, with workers discovering helpful new ways to manage the challenging nature of their roles. Intensive Care Paramedic, Chris Townsend is one of more than 700 NSW Ambulance workers who have already completed RAW Mind Coach. He has found immense value in the skills taught, praising RAW Mind Coach as being a “great course”, which is “very effective.”
Employee Mental Health & Resilience Program Coordinator, Zoe Wooldridge, is overseeing the rollout of RAW Mind Coach to all NSW Ambulance workers. She says, “I believe the success of the program is its ability to explain serious psychological coping strategies in a fresh, fun and engaging manner, with characters and content that staff can relate to.”
RAW Mind Coach allows learners to discover the strategies which work best for them, before developing a personalised plan of action to help cope with especially tough days on the job. The program also serves as a starting point for deeper conversations, with all NSW Ambulance employees receiving face-to-face training in order to reinforce the lessons learnt online.
RAW Mind Coach includes ten short interactive learning sessions and is available on computer, tablet or smartphone. Learners can also download a selection of guided mindfulness audio exercises and access an expert-curated library of additional resources, which allow for ongoing learning.
NSW Ambulance recognised the potential of RAW Mind Coach early, backing the development of the program as a Foundation Partner. A key benefit of the program is its proactive, preventative approach. Designed to support those in the most challenging roles, RAW Mind Coach equips paramedics, 000 call takers and other NSW Ambulance workers with a range of skills they can employ on and off the job.
The program is based on extensive research carried out by RAW Mind Coach co-founder Sadhbh Joyce, who for the past four years, has examined how best to build resilience, as part of her PhD studies. Joyce first performed a meta-analysis of over 450 interventions worldwide to investigate which yielded the best results, before going on to create a prototype online program and run a successful randomised control trial with emergency service workers.
Joyce is proud to have translated her research into a program that is driving positive change and supporting those who provide an essential service. She believes other organisations should follow the example of NSW Ambulance, saying “organisations will only improve mental health if they take a whole-hearted approach. NSW Ambulance should be applauded for making mental health a real priority and implementing an evidence-based program across its entire workforce.”
With more organisations seeking to address mental health in a proactive manner, Joyce believes we are now witnessing a shift. “Instead of waiting for problems to occur, many organisations are looking to implement preventative programs which nurture resilience and build skills. Our aim is to make it simple for organisations to make a real difference.”
The e-learning approach holds many advantages, with programs being scalable, affordable and accessible anywhere, anytime. These benefits are already being realised at a number of leading employers. RAW Mind Coach was recently rolled out worldwide by Reuters to support their journalists. The program is also currently in use by the Australian Graduate School of Management (UNSW Business School), Optus and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District.
Pictured from left to right: Louise Ashelford NSW Ambulance Director, Healthy Workplace Strategies, Zoe Wooldridge NSW Ambulance Employee Mental Health & Resilience Program Coordinator, Jamie Watson RAW Mind Coach CEO, Sadhbh Joyce RAW Mind Coach Co-founder, Associate Professor Samuel Harvey Black Dog Institute Chief Psychiatrist