Our people are at the heart of what we do. Taking care of physical and mental health is very important for us at Ornatas. Our Hatchery team leader Brandon Panebianco coordinated the Stay Afloat Mental Health First Aid Programs in Townsville, the first of which was attended by the Ornatas team, as well as Coral Coast Barramundi , Seafarms Group Limited, and Spring Creek Barramundi.
Funded by the Commonwealth government, it was a 2-day program specifically designed for the seafood industry, taking account of the real mental health challenges that people face in fisheries and aquaculture work fields.
It was great to have Gary Hawks, a professional diver, as a presenter and mentor for this program. He had been a dive medic for 15 years in remote areas based in Thailand and across Indonesia and has responded to different critical events including a tsunami a few years back. Working in a stressful environment, he shared his struggles with mental health.
The program was set up face-to-face, so that people can have open and meaningful conversation and feel comfortable sharing their experiences.
Brandon shares his experience taking the course along with other Ornatas staff and how this course made him empathise and connect with other team members.
“You just really don’t know what mental state people are in, or if someone’s having a bad day. If we see someone quieter than usual, or angry, or reserved, when you know they are not like that generally. We should check on them and probably show support instead of instantly starting to correct or challenge them” says Brandon.
Looking into different aspects of suicide, psychosis, anxiety, depression and also drug abuse, the team learned how they can identify behavioral changes and offer support to a person going through them.
“It was great to have a fantastic group of people, like minded, wanting to help the people around them”
We had another one of these training sessions this month and we are proud to have more than 50% of our staff members at Ornatas equipped with mental health first aid training.
We share a culture of care, harmony and respect for everyone, and this is what makes us do great things at Ornatas!
“Scott and the team have been really supportive of us doing this course and taking the time out from our daily routines. And Jo Tonacia has helped in organizing logistics for the course and the team, so a lot of credit to them!”