By NZISM Secretary
Kia ora koutou members and supporters,
It is with a heavy heart that we begin this newsletter by acknowledging all those who have been impacted by the horrific events in Christchurch this past week, our thoughts are with our members and supporters who have lost friends, family and colleagues. Along with the rest of New Zealand, we stand beside you, sharing your grief, not only for those whose lives were lost in this tragedy, but for the loss of our nations innocence from such extreme racist violence.
We would like to acknowledge the first responders whose jobs put them in harm’s way, to ensure the safety of us all. We are forever grateful for the incredible service you provide to our community. The impact of this event will be long lasting, it will fundamentally change the way we live, no longer do we have an assumed immunity from terror attacks. Our members will need to be considering the impact this has on their workplaces, the increased support their staff need and how best to provide this, as well as reviewing changes that may be required to current security practices.
In the weeks and months to come, as life continues on, it is important to remember that we each have our own way of coping with trauma. Some people may look for support and advice immediately following an event, but for others it may take time to process and this means you won’t be ready to talk or seek support to work through the experience for some time. There is no right way to deal with trauma, however there are various types of support out there for anyone who needs it now or in the future. The Mental Health Foundation has a number of national helplines that can be found here: https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/get-help/in-crisis/helplines/?fbclid=IwAR0hRNdmnPkAAPfXEa77TJsYD9aai6VarLWGZPDcUvm4Bp0uYX4AjdtSYlA.
NZISM also offers support to our members through our Peer Support Network, this is a team of member volunteers who are available to help you. We are not trained mental health professionals, but we care and are here to listen and provide guidance on a range of issues, contact details can be found on our website: https://www.nzism.org/peer-support-network/.
We are also offering the St John Mental Health First Aid course across a range of locations, these are happening in the near future and are open to members and our corporate supporters at a discounted rate. This course will teach you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health issues in work colleagues, friends and family members. If we are not running this in your area, then St John runs these courses publicly in various locations around New Zealand. The Mental Health Foundation also has an article on their website about supporting each other through the aftermath of the tragedy, it offers helpful advice and can be accessed here:https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/home/news/article/243/supporting-each-other-after-the-christchurch-terrorist-attack.
As an organisation, we continue to look for different ways to support our members, as well as support the occupational health and safety industry as a whole. This week we are launching a network focused on addressing the needs of our younger members, the Emerging Safety Leaders (ESL) Network, more information on this network can be found in the article following this update. It is important to reiterate, that the networks that are developing across NZISM are not exclusive, anyone with an interest in these areas can join the networks. If you have a special interest group that you would like to establish please get in touch with me directly, we aim to promote and develop initiatives that meet the growing and expanding needs of our members and the industry. The ideas that flourish in these targeted networks are shared right across our organisation for the benefit and betterment of every single member.
I recently came across a beautiful proverb and for me this represents exactly what we are trying to achieve here at NZISM and what I believe kiwis have shown the world this week. “Nau te rourou, naku te rourou, ka ora te manuhiri.” With your basket and my basket the people will live. Through our differences, whether they are our ideas, experiences, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age or whatever it is that makes up our own unique identity, when we come together and work towards a common goal or purpose, greatness can and will be achieved.
Ngā mihi nui
Chief Executive Officer