Getting The Mental Health Conversation Going - Star Group

May 29, 2024

Matthew Simons - BPsych (Hons)

It has been a busy half-year for ADA Australia trainers. More companies and workplaces, big and small, are recognising the risks – and their obligations – around ‘mental injury’ (psychosocial risk) at work. The Star Group takes this very seriously.

ADA Australia has begun delivering its Drugs, Alcohol and Mental Health training program to Star Group. This follows on the heels of a program which saw more than 50 Star Group people take the accredited 12-hour Standard Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training with ADA Australia.

Of course, mental wellbeing is a major challenge for the Australian community and Australian business. Among advanced economies, Australia has among the highest rates of stress-related disorders, and among the highest rates of suicide and self-harm. (See ADA’s A Handbook of Workplace Mental Health p.11)

But we can do something about it. Building awareness at the workplace through education and discussion around mental illness and substance misuse is a great way to start. Normalising these conversations, and taking away the stigma and taboo of talking about our struggles, can make it easier for a mate to pull a mate aside and say, “Hey, you’re not yourself, do you want to chat? Is there something I can help you with?”

Our aim through our workplace training is to encourage people to feel comfortable with talking about things – like feelings, thoughts, worries – that we so often keep hidden. Friends, family and workmates can have a big influence in steering someone to help if we can just ‘get a conversation going’.

ADA Australia’s Drugs, Alcohol and Mental Health extended program can be a logical way to start this process. This training aims to assist participants to better understand the health impacts of drugs and alcohol and of the hazards they pose to safe workplace practices. It also examines worker obligations under a Workplace Drugs and Alcohol Policy.

It also provides participants with the skills to recognise triggers for work stress, and to recognise changes in behaviour that may indicate psychological distress. For the workplace, it can ensure that the right policies and procedures are in place to guard against psychological damage.

If you’d like to learn more about this program, or any of the other training programs we offer, please call ADA Australia on 1300 378 429 or email:

Additionally, if this information raised any concerns for you, please do speak to your GP, they can help you back to good health, or call a helpline: LIFELINE 13 11 14 or BeyondBlue 1300 22 4636.

Article by
Matthew Simons - BPsych (Hons)