Emergency staff ask “R U OK?”


Dealing with medical emergencies can take its toll on health professionals.

That’s why the staff at Wonthaggi Hospital’s Emergency Department took part in R U OK events last week, as part of R U OK Day.

R U OK day is there to encourage people to ask others how they are coping. The aim is to ease the impacts of stress on individuals, and save lives.

One of our Senior Emergency Nurses, Catherine Bunn, created R U OK gift bags for staff, full of activities to prompt discussion about mental health. She also made a display at the Emergency Department entrance to generate discussion and facilitated a COVIDSafe meditation for staff.

Bass Coast Health CEO Jan Child congratulated the ED staff who are at the very front line, for taking this initiative, saying we never truly know what is happening in someone else’s life.

“Too often, people won’t readily share their struggles for many reasons. By asking, we can create safety to talk about tough feelings and open the door to sharing the mental load,” she said.

“It can lessen the burden for people who are facing their battles alone in their mind and improve their outlook to know others are there for them.”

Ms Child said discussion about our mental health was vital for healthcare workers given the sector is facing unprecedented change.

“In what was already a high-pressure environment, it is now more challenging to keep us safe from COVID. COVID brings its own challenges that have varying impacts on people’s wellbeing,” she said.

“Remembering to look after each other, check in and not leave anyone behind as we navigate the challenges is vitally important and will make sure everyone comes through this together.”