Graphic: Dr Tim Driscoll
The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS) will extend its Mental Health and Wellbeing Service with the launch of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
Announced today, the Flying Doctor’s EAP allows organisations to offer counselling and wellbeing consultations to their employees, which are all provided under complete anonymity and free of charge for the individual.
The first organisation to enlist the new RFDS EAP is fellow Queensland country-minded institution, AgForce.
RFDS (Queensland Section) Manager Central West and Outback Mental Health Doctor Tim Driscoll said the EAP was designed to help bridge the gap in the accessibility of counselling and wellbeing services for those living and working outside urban centres.
“We all lead busy lives, which can make it difficult to find time for our health and wellbeing –particularly for those living or working in rural and remote areas where people often wait for things to get a lot worse before seeking help,” Dr Driscoll said.
“A conversation with a trained professional can help tackle common daily struggles – such as trouble sleeping, feeling down or long-term stress – helping to address issues and get support before things get out of control.”
In the past year alone, the RFDS provided more than 12,000 mental health consultations across the state’s regional, rural and remote communities. The extension of these services to target employee health and wellbeing via workplaces is set to provide an additional avenue to increase the accessibility and uptake across Queensland.
RFDS (Queensland Section) Chief Executive Officer Meredith Staib said EAPs provide benefits for both employees and employers.
“Being able to work with corporate partners can help amplify the accessibility of our services, while also playing an important preventative role in the wellbeing of individuals across Queensland,” Ms Staib said.
“As well as the personal benefits for the individual obtaining support, an EAP promotes higher staff engagement, reduces absenteeism, reduces stress, and increases productivity as well as overall performance.”
AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said the organisation was delighted to have the RFDS design a bespoke EAP program for its 40-strong team of employees located across Queensland.
“As an organisation, AgForce is committed to providing our team members with all the resources they need to thrive both in the workplace, and in life outside of it,” Mr Guerin said.
“The trust we have in the RFDS as an experienced and qualified team is of utmost importance, but it’s also a great comfort to know that their experienced clinicians are deeply ingrained in regional communities and can truly understand the unique challenges our team may face.”
For information about the RFDS EAP, visit rfds.co/EAP