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How are you? QRS poses the question.

Pete Wairau canva

When staff did a wellbeing survey this year people and capabilities manager Peter Wairau didn’t know that Quality Roading and Services had already improved at least one staffer’s mental health.

The 17-question paper survey was designed to understand if staff at QRS needed any additional health and wellbeing support. Answers to the voluntary survey propelled QRS to offer more support.

People and capabilities manager Peter Wairau says it’s the first time the company has surveyed staff about their wellbeing, and given the past two years of Covid-19 lockdowns and isolations the survey was timely.

“We wanted to shed light on how our employees are feeling. The culture at QRS is a living and breathing thing and we want to make sure we’re doing what we can to bring out the best in everyone.”

QRS has already helped bring out the best in at least one staff member, engineer Glenn Bradley.

Like one in five people in Aotearoa New Zealand, Glenn has experienced mental illness. He was pleased to fill out the survey knowing that with more information QRS is better equipped to help any staff experiencing what he had.

“It’s good to talk. It’s a tricky personal thing for people and it’s natural to feel uneasy but QRS is on the right track.”

Mr Wairau says 30 percent of survey respondents said they do experience some anxiety. A smaller number (less than 20 percent) said they experience some depression or other mental health problems.

“It’s the kind of information we wanted to know. We don’t want people getting into a place where wellbeing issues become bigger problems. When we know, we can help. We’re all pretty close here.”

Queen St Practice health improvement worker Trixie Terry talked to staff on the day of the survey. Trixie offers support and strategies free of charge for QRS staff. After leaving her contact details eight staff later took up the opportunity to speak with her. Health coach Anne Hurley is also available.

The MATES in Construction programme is also coming to QRS. MATES focuses on opening up communication channels, changing onsite culture, and improving knowledge of what can be done to prevent suicide.

Mr Wairau says the survey, the courses, and strong individuals like Glenn talking about their own experiences, all help raise the awareness of wellbeing.

“We’re all close here and mental health problems can affect anyone at any time so its critical we make mental health a normal and safe thing to discuss in the workplace. We’re helping break any old school stigma that can leave people suffering in secret.”

Need to talk?

Lifeline 0800 543 354
Depression Helpline 0800 111 757
Youthline 0800 376 633
Alcohol Drug Helpline 0800 787 797
Women’s Refuge 0800 733 843
Emergency 111
What’s Up 0800 942 8787
Hawke’s Bay Mental Health Crisis Line 0800 112 334
Health improvement worker Trixie Terry, Queen St Practice (06) 838 8333 or 027 310 6544

29 September 2022

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Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini. My strength is not mine alone, it is the strength of many.

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