Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) officers are set to Stand TALR with the introduction of an innovative program designed to improve the mental health of staff.
Minister for Corrective Services Mark Ryan said the program was designed to help officers overcome the stigma associated with mental health.
“Stand TALR is a peer-led mental health awareness workshop, created specifically for correctional officers, to help encourage positive attitudes towards mental health,” he said.
“The program encourages staff to Talk, Ask, Listen and Refer and attempts to combat perceptions that talking about mental health is a sign of weakness.
“QCS officers work on the frontline of community safety through the humane containment and rehabilitation of some of the most challenging and complex people in our society.
“In a challenging field like corrections, it’s critically important programs like Stand TALR are offered to staff, and the feedback I’ve heard from officers has been very positive.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to backing the officers who work so hard to keep us safe.”
Queensland’s first Stand TALR programs were rolled out this week in collaboration with Together Union.
Together Secretary Alex Scott said the program had been a big success in Western Australia, and subsequently introduced in a number of other jurisdictions.
“Its strength is that it is a peer run framework that allows Correctional Officers to support each other in tackling mental health issues,” he said.
“Correctional officers do a difficult and stressful job, often without the recognition and support they deserve.
“We are glad that that the Government has agreed to introduce this program and are very pleased to support the roll out.”
Commissioner Peter Martin APM said that the safety of officers was an absolute priority and that the peer-led mental health awareness program is an example of QCS’ continued quest for best practice.
“As one of the Corrections 2030 guiding principles, safety, is extremely important to me and this includes the mental wellbeing of all our officers,” he said.
“As an organisation, we are strongly committed to providing our officers a safe and supportive work environment that we can support by identifying and helping deliver programs to support the wellbeing of our officers.”
The program was initially developed by the Western Australian Prison Officers Union in 2017.