Blazing The Trail for Wellness Amongst WA Prison Officers

The West Australian Prison Officer's Union (WAPOU) wanted to shine a spotlight on mental health amongst WA Prison Officers, and invited Black Dog Ride along to share our story.

The nature of work that is demanded of Prison Officers is difficult, demanding, sometimes traumatic, and in this type of environment, it is vital to foster a culture of mental health awareness. Recognising this, over a year ago WAPOU began organising a first - a seminar for WA Prison Officers focusing on mental health.

Last month, the day WAPOU had been working so hard for dawned to fruition. Presenters included clinicians and academics from Beyond Blue, the Black Dog Institute, WA Mental Health Association, and WorkSafe. To round out the well being circle, Black Dog Ride presented on our social inclusion activities and how they relate to building community and self awareness around mental health which encourage help seeking behaviours.

Black Dog Ride's CEO David Peach Presents at WAPOU's Mental Health Seminar 2017This was the inaugural presentation for Black Dog Ride's new CEO, David Peach, who spoke with the 180 guests for 15 minutes. Black Dog Ride's Fiona Duffield and Graeme Raine were on hand during the day to chat with Prison Officers, all of whom spoke of being empowered to be open about their mental health, and excited for the groundbreaking gathering of the peers for such a powerful topic.

WAPOU is still breaking new ground, with additional seminars and contextualised training on the horizon for Prison Officers, plus a Black Dog Ride or two!

We'd like to thank WAPOU State Secretary Andy Smith and Training Officer Bodie Green for inviting Black Dog Ride to be part of such a special event, and bringing Prison Officers together to shine a beacon of light on a hidden topic, empowering all present with improved mental health literacy. We're looking forward to working together in the future.