On February 22 this year, the first group of HSU delegates attended the Foundo Blue Suicide and Mental Health Awareness course, provided as part of our association with Foundation House.
Alongside five CFMEU delegates, eight delegates from Ambulance Division participated in the one-day course focusing on mental health awareness and how to safely talk about suicide to family and colleagues.
While the delegates all practice this daily with patients, talking about colleagues and loved ones was very different and we all forgot we were paramedics within the first hour.
The combined class with construction delegates was great because we realised how much we have in common with workmates despite very different working conditions. It gave everyone a newfound respect for what we do as workers.
We learned how to be aware of our own mental health, and how to be aware of small changes in those we’re close to.
Despite very intense and emotionally confrontational topics, the course felt safe and inclusive at all times. Being run by Foundo Blue workers who also provide in-treatment care was very reassuring. Noting that this treatment is for members and families, and completely separate from the employer, was a strong point.
Delegates left with a new bond, feeling like we now had an extra level of knowledge to be supportive to our colleagues.
Delegates said it was great to feel part of a union ‘that cared about the whole wellbeing of its members, and not just the industrial fight aspects’.
It was best summed up as a great course for us to care for our colleagues, not just our patients. And at the end you get an amazing blue hard hat!