Let’s say you work in mental health. Maybe you’re a clinician, or a support worker, or one of those fancy policy-type people. But, you don’t just work in mental health, you’ve got your own big stuff going on too.
And the thing is, that can bring up a lot of questions. Questions like…
Do you tell your colleagues or clients about your personal history?
Does working in this field affect your own wellbeing?
How do you keep your job when you’re having a really hard time, of the feelings variety?
What do you do when the expectations of your role don’t sit quite right, given your own personal experience of crisis?
Tough questions friends! Questions that can be very hard to answer on your own.
That’s why we’ve created Big Feels @ Work, a tailored training package specifically for mental health professionals who have their own messy life stuff going on.
BUT FIRST, Who are you people?
Big Feels @ Work is created by The Big Feels Club, a mental health initiative based in Melbourne, Australia. We’ve teamed up with Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services to pilot this online training program.
We have years of experience working in mental health across Australia and New Zealand, as well as even more experience circling the existential plughole in our personal lives. (Yay!) For more info about The Big Feels Club, click here.
How does THE TRAINING work?
We know you’re busy people, so the guts of the course is designed to be listened to on your morning commute, or whenever you get some precious down time.
There are four lessons in the course. Each lesson consists of:
an audio lesson (effectively, a private podcast)
a short written exercise for personal reflection
optional further reading for keen beans
In each lesson, you’ll hear from other mental health professionals about how they make sense of the ‘work + feelings’ equation. All designed to help you handle the unique challenges of working in this field when you’ve got so much skin in the game.
Read on for a taste of what you’ll learn in this course, and info on how to sign up.
Lesson 1: How do I know I’m doing a good job??
When you’ve been on the other side of the ‘just ask for help’ fence, you know what people need when they’re really struggling. That’s a good thing, right? But it can also feel like *a lot* of pressure.
In lesson 1 you’ll…
Explore what personally drives you in your role, and how you know you’re doing a good job (when the system’s definition of ‘success’ may be different to yours)
Lesson 2: Why do we work like this, anyway?
Sometimes we have to work in ways that don’t sit right with us. Whether it’s the limitations of your role, or the slow-moving cogs of the wider system, there are times when the work directly challenges your own personal views on what actually helps people in distress. What do you do then??
After lesson 2 you’ll…
Feel better equipped to handle situations where the expectations of your workplace challenge your own personal values
Have a better understanding of why system change can be so hard (especially when you have skin in the game!)
Lesson 3: How honest should I be about my messy life stuff?
The age old question, to disclose, or not to disclose? We look at the pros and cons of sharing your big feels with colleagues and clients, including why you might hold some things back, even if everyone knows the broad brush strokes.
In lesson 3 you’ll…
Explore when and how to disclose lived experience at work
Hear how other people handle the tension between their ‘authentic self’ and their professional persona
Have more strategies for how to build your work support networks
Lesson 4: How do I keep my job when I’m losing my sh**?
Let’s be honest, sometimes it happens. And no matter how understanding your workplace is, a trip back to crisis town can seriously endanger your employment. We explore how to do a ‘good enough’ job, so you can keep your job.
At the end of lesson 4 you’ll…
7. Have a better understanding of the unique ways that working in mental health can affect your own wellbeing
8. Have more practical strategies for managing the impact of personal crisis on your work
Sounds good, what does it cost?
Thanks to a consumer workforce innovation grant from the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria, this pilot program is freely accessible. The target audience is mental health workers in Victoria, with a lived experience of mental distress (whether disclosed or undisclosed). However, in this piloting phase, the program is currently available to workers outside Victoria too.
While there are no costs associated with participating, the one requirement is we ask you to complete a short survey once you’ve finished all four lessons.
Count me in! what do I do now?
You’ll get all the info and links to lessons via email. Sign up below.
And if you have friends or co-workers that you think would be interested, please send them a link to this page!