Recovery Boost case study
Regional Council Parks and Gardens Team
A small regional council which covers a large area, has employed a number of people with disabilities and mental health issues in their parks and gardens team, recruited from a regional TAFE horticulture and landscaping program.
Issue: staff isolation and anxiety
These staff members feel quite isolated and would like to engage more with people who enter the park and use the facilities. Many suffer from varying levels of social anxiety and have had time off in relation to this anxiety and depression, even though they perform their job tasks well and enjoy the work.
The council wants to support these staff and educate the public about the needs of these workers, as well as reducing stigma and promoting positive interaction between these staff and the general public, and other council staff.
They have looked at materials related to depression and anxiety and have used some of these materials with this group, but feel that they require something more focussed around celebrating the successes of the workers and improving their self-esteem and image with the public to have an ongoing positive effect.
Idea: video series
Their idea is to produce a series of videos featuring these workers (and other relevant staff) to promote the council’s recreational parks and gardens and showcase the work of parks and gardens staff, as well as to encourage the public to engage with staff and “say hello”.
This would include short interviews with various staff members. It is anticipated that the interactions between staff in the development, filming and promotion of these materials
will also foster a closer working relationship with other staff in a positive setting.
Process: video development and launch
The council is talking to the local TAFE campus (approximately 15-30 km from the 12 parks and gardens in question), which offers a Marketing and Media course. Students and staff would work with the council to create the materials as a Work Integrated Learning experience, which will contribute to their course.
- The Director of HR and Head of Department of the TAFE Business School will lead the project.
- The council will employ a project manager to liaise with TAFE staff and take responsibility for developing and monitoring the project planning, transport, budget and distribution of the finished materials. This will include organising a celebratory dinner for council.
- TAFE staff and students will launch the videos organically through various channels including social media as well as other promotions throughout the year featuring photos of the gardens.
A TAFE staff member who is interested in research will write up a case study of the project for inclusion in a graduate education program
If this project is successful, the TAFE campus would like to include this type of assignment in working with other councils in the area.
The project aims to provide an inclusive work environment that supports staff in their mental health recovery by increasing their self-esteem and promoting positive interactions with other council staff and the public.
Measures of success would focus on positive interaction between staff with disabilities and mental health issues and other staff and members of the public. More broadly, project success will be reflected in improvements in the mental health and wellbeing of the parks and gardens workers and the council work environment becoming more inclusive for all staff.
Success measures could include:
- reduced staff sick leave
- increased positive interactions between staff members and the public
The existing information about positive interactions and staff members’ confidence is anecdotal, so some thought about how to document this to provide evidence that is measurable will be considered. This could include documenting interviews with staff and/or development of a survey to capture data at key points throughout the project, and also a follow up stage to support ongoing sustainability.