Respond Program FAQ

Who is RESPOND for?

For healthcare workers like doctors, nurses, allied health, administration, catering, cleaning, environmental services, maintenance, security, educators, medical researchers, pharmacy, medical imaging, mental health, personal care attendants, all other support staff.

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Aged Care Facilities
  • Disability services
  • First responders

What is RESPOND?

RESPOND is one of AUSTRALIA’s LEADING MENTAL HEALTH ONLINE programs that you builds skills in selfcare and mental health.

It includes:

  • High impact “bite sized” training videos that you can watch in a few minutes at a time
  • curated resources – books, scholarly articles, videos
  • group coaching with a Psychologist twice a month
  • drop in laser coaching with a Psychologist every week
  • live online meditation every week
  • a Private “CLOSED” facebook community of health care workers who are committed to wellbeing

What is the intention of RESPOND?

RESPOND has been designed and developed to meet the gap that health professionals revealed existed in their employer’s wellbeing programs. Over and over we heard the same two stories. The first story was that the existing wellbeing programs did not offer much about mental health and the second was that the existing services offered by the employer were for when there was a crisis.

Many wellbeing programs focus on physical health, things like giving up smoking, building an exercise habit, eating more healthy food. These programs are fantastic.

RESPOND is solely focused on helping you develop your skills to maintain your mental health, skills like;

  • improving your attention and focus
  • adjusting your self talk
  • expanding your self awareness
  • learning about unconscious bias
  • how to manage stress more effectively
  • how to develop communication skills for more influence
  • understanding your lack of motivation and how you can improve it
  • how you can regulate your emotions
  • and much more.

RESPOND can help you learn about and develop your self care skills, improve your relationship and communication skills and tune your inner game.

Everyone can experience better mental health and more wellness for the long term, if they have the right skills and access to the right resources.

How do I participate in RESPOND?

After your employer has partnered with Coaching for Doctors they will share a RESPOND link with you. Once you click on the link you sign in to RESPOND and then you can access everything RESPOND offers. As long as your employer offers RESPOND you have access to the resources.

RESPOND training is online and recorded so that you can take the courses as many times as you like, at a time that suits you. All the videos are short, 10-25 minutes, so that you can actually fit the learning into your schedule.

RESPOND members receive an email every Sunday and Tuesday to help them keep going with their skill development. These prompts are designed to help you create new habits and embed what you are learning. RESPOND is more than an online course, it is designed to be interactive and supported.

The regular coaching opportunities are offered so that you can ask questions and deepen your learning as you go, at your own pace. We recognise that changing habits and building new skills takes effort and are more likely achieved with support

The closed PRIVATE facebook group is a safe space for you to share your learning, to ask questions of the community and share your successes as you build new habits and try out your new skills.

What should I expect from RESPOND?

You should expect that the skills being taught and the resources in RESPOND will help you to respond to your life more effectively…. If ….. you do the work.

You don’t expect to grow your biceps without doing lots of repeated weight lifting. It is the same for your mind, your emotions and your communication. You will not develop any new skill or habit without practice and repetition. If you do the work and engage with RESPOND and all it offers, you will learn lots of cool new skills that can help you be well. We are here to support and encourage you to meet all that life brings in a skilful way.

You should expect RESPOND to respond to your needs. RESPOND is a new program that we are developing based on your feedback. RESPOND came about because of COVID-19 and all the requests we were receiving to help with people’s mental health.

What is not part of RESPOND?

RESPOND is a skill building program. It is not therapy or counselling. People do say they feel better when they participate in RESPOND because it is a proactive, empowered choice to build your own skills. It is also often therapeutic to be in community and to connect with others who have shared goals.

Who is facilitating RESPOND?

Sharee Johnson is a registered psychologist and an accredited coach with the International Coaching Federation. She is also an accredited meditation teacher, an experienced mindfulness facilitator and practitioner, including senior consultant with global company Potential Project and the owner of Coaching for Doctors. Sharee has been the coordinator of the VicRoads EAP program and has run her successful private counselling practice for many years. Sharee is one of Australia’s leading specialist doctor coaches.

Sharee has a team of associates she works with including experienced doctors, psychologists, executive coaches and mindfulness practitioners.

Why do organisations need to provide mental health wellbeing programs to their workforce?

The model Work Health and Safety Act requires workplaces to ensure the physical and psychological health and safety of their workers, so far as is reasonably practicable. The best way to do that is by designing work, systems and workplaces that minimise risks to health. The Act also requires employers to make sure work is safe for those returning after a workplace injury or illness 2

Psychological safety has a big impact on an individual’s capacity at work. When people feel safe, like they are valued and can contribute, they are more productive, effective and engaged in their work.

There are many things that can go wrong in a person’s life. A working age adult spends a great deal of time at work so it can have a large impact on their wellbeing and by association on that of their family. Return on investment studies have shown that wellbeing programs that support worker’s psychological health have a benefit to the organisation from $1 up to $14.

An effective wellbeing program that workers engage with can provide significant returns in the longer term to the organisation by reducing turnover and absenteeism and improving engagement and productivity. Individuals who are well and feel valued and supported and more loyal to the organisation and like they are valued.

What is the return on investment for wellbeing programs?

Each program is different and prevention programs that build skills in mental health are hard to quantify and measure in the short term.

20-25% of people experience depression and anxiety at any given time and 45% of people will have a mental illness in their lifetime. Reducing the burden of unwellness and dis-ease will have many benefits for individuals and for organisations.

Beyondblue found that mental health programs in healthcare have an average ROI of $2.30 for every $1 spent 3

In 2017, Safework NSW found that larger organisations who invest in workplace mental health promotion see a ROI of $4.01. one of the key measures was reduced absenteeism 4

Some other interesting figures help paint the picture of what mental illness costs us as a community, as employers and as individuals.

  • $9.9 billion was spent on mental health related services in Australia during 2017-18 1
  • 4.3 million people received mental health related prescriptions in 2018-191
  • Over the five years from 2010-11 to 2014-15 work-related mental health conditions equate to around 6% of workers’ compensation claims. They are more expensive (almost 3 times more than a physical injury claim) and people are off work for a longer average time (3 times longer than for physical injury claim)
  • 91% of these claims are attributed to mental stress (includes but not limited to work pressure, harassment, bullying, exposure to violence, exposure to traumatic event, assault, vehicle accident)

Two of the five most at risk groups of workers include health and welfare workers and social and welfare professionals. Workers who receive compensation for work-related mental health conditions tend to have high levels of interaction with other people, are often providing a public service and are often doing their job in challenging circumstances. 2

The cost of prevention may be a small percentage of the potential costs for individuals and for organisations compared to when people have a mental health challenge or illness.

References

1. [www.aihw.gov.au]
2. [www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au]
3. [https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/beyondblue_workplaceroi_finalreport_may-2014.pdf]
4. [http://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/320132/Mentally-healthy-workplaces-A-return-on-investment-study-August-2017-SW08735.pdf]

How is RESPOND different to other wellness programs?

RESPOND is a specialist program designed specifically for people who work in health care. It focuses on one thing – helping you to maintain your mental health.

RESPOND is focused on helping you build skills, especially internal mental health skills and interpersonal skills. It is a proactive program that is about prevention. It is specifically for people who work in health and seeks to reduce the risk of mental illness and burnout by teaching you skills and helping you learn to use them.

We recognise that working in healthcare can be stressful. Workplaces are busy and you are often exposed to heartache, distress and loss just by virtue of being in the vicinity. Health care does not always leave time or space to help you reflect and learn. The message in health care has often been toughen up or go somewhere else. We understand that the “old school” or “traditional” toughen up strategy doesn’t work a lot of the time.

RESPOND allows you to develop lots of tools and strategies. It allows you to do it anywhere. RESPOND is not on your work intranet, we host the program, so you can feel confident that your privacy is assured. You can learn what you need to add to your toolbox and find the skills that will enhance your wellbeing and mental health in your own time and in privacy, without fear or judgement from your colleagues.

Who has access to your information?

Coaching for Doctors hosts the RESPOND portal. We do not share your information with anyone else. We do provide global statistical information to your employer. For instance, we share the number of people who are using RESPOND and which components of the program are being used the most. We also share wellbeing data from the wellbeing surveys that we invite people to complete periodically.

This sharing of data helps us to talk together about what might be better for everyone’s mental health at work. If your employer is providing you with RESPOND then they are in regular conversation with us about what needs to develop at your workplace. This sort of ongoing conversation can help us all improve our understanding of what will help healthcare workers be well. Feedback and conversation with people outside your organisational culture can bring new insights that are not easily noticed by those inside the system.

What evidence is RESPOND based on?

RESPOND is based on many established theories and models from psychology, neuroscience and organisational theory including, but not limited to:

  • Relational Frame Theory
  • Acceptance and Commitment Training
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Positive Psychology
  • The Integral Model
  • Coaching Theory
  • Motivation Theory
  • Change Management Theory
  • Stages of Grief Model

RESPOND has wellbeing measures built into it’s design. It will take time to learn about it’s impact on individuals and on the workplace more broadly. Wellbeing programs can take several years to demonstrate their impact, particularly those that are focused on prevention.

All of the skills being taught in RESPOND have significant research to support their efficacy. They have been included due to their demonstrated impact in other settings such as in counselling or coaching programs, online programs or in leadership programs.

Which organisations is RESPOND best suited?

Wellbeing programs that have the most impact in organisations are there for the longer term and offer a range of different strategies for different needs. RESPOND is suited to healthcare organisations who rely on their people being well to deliver their services.

RESPOND can enhance your existing programs because it specifically focuses on:

  • mental health
  • people’s inner experience
  • their interactions with others.

Even if you have a program like RESPOND it is unlikely to meet the needs of everyone. Flexible, adaptable options that people can access in privacy, in their own time, easily, are the best strategies for large organisations.

RESPOND is well placed to be a key program for selfcare, mental health and interpersonal relationships in your existing matrix or as a starting point, if you do not have a wellbeing program for mental health in your organisation.

If you are a smaller organisation with little or no wellbeing program to address mental health and help your people build their skills, RESPOND is a great way to start. Prevention will always be better than a cure.

It’s time we started taking care of our mental health in the same way we pay attention to our diet and our fitness. Skilled mental wellbeing doesn’t happen be accident. When things go wrong with our mental health there can be a high toll for the individual, the people around them and the organisation.

Do you have other options?

RESPOND can be enhanced with our face to face services. We offer face to face individual and group coaching, workshops and other facilitated programs for leadership, mindfulness, team development, resilience and so on, off site retreats and our signature immersive learning program, Recalibrate.

Coaching for Doctors is an agile service provider, we are always delighted to work with our partner organisations to develop programs that meet the needs of people who work in health care for better care for everyone, especially our healthcare workforce.