Townsville Correctional Centre officers were the first in Queensland to participate in an innovative international program to improve mental health and break the stigma of mental health challenges last month.
The program was developed by the Western Australian Prison Officer Union in 2017 and is a peer-led mental health awareness program that has been delivered to over 4,000 officers in Australia and New Zealand since its inception.
Stand TALR (Talk. Ask. Listen. Refer) helps officers to overcome the resistance, fear and stigma often experienced when faced with mental health challenges, and encourages officers and their colleagues to ask for professional assistance as early as possible, as well as help treat and manage issues including anxiety, stress and depression.
The recent program that was run in Townsville was well received by officers.
Deputy Commissioner Organisational Capability James Koulouris said the peer-led mental health awareness program was an example of QCS’ continued quest for best practice.
“We are strongly committed to the health and wellbeing of our officers, and the Stand TALR program was proposed to us by the Together Union as a leading resource to help support the mental health of our officers,” DC Koulouris said.
“It’s an invaluable investment in the health of our hard working officers and something that I am happy to continue to support as the program is rolled out across the State. We are committed to providing a safe and supportive work environment for all officers and I thank the Together Union for working with us to deliver this program.”
Together Secretary Alex Scott said the program had been a huge success in Western Australia and subsequently introduced in a number of other jurisdictions in Australia and New Zealand as a result.
“Its strength is that it is a peer run framework that allows correctional officers to support each other in tackling mental health issues,” Mr Scott said.
“Correctional officers do a difficult and stressful job, often without the recognition and support they deserve. We are very pleased to support the roll out.”
Stand TALR will be rolled out at Townsville Correctional Centre, Woodford Correctional Centre and Wolston Correctional Centre in January and February.
Further presentations are being organised for Lotus Glen Correctional Centre, Maryborough Correctional Centre and Capricornia Correctional Centre.