R U OK Day Celebrated at Heatherbrae Weathertex

Port Stephens MP Kate Washington has this week joined Weathertex staff, Executive Chairman Paul Michael, and Australian Workers Union organiser Paul O’Brien at an R U OK Day BBQ at Weathertex’s Heatherbrae factory.

Since 2009, R U OK Day has encouraged everyday Australians to speak honestly about mental health and seek support when it is needed.

The Australian Workers Union and Weathertex have used this opportunity to support their members and staff while reinforcing the message about speaking honestly when it comes to mental health. Weathertex is a family owned company operating from the Heatherbrae factory which was built in 1939. Weathertex employs approximately 100 staff who manufacture construction material for the domestic and international market.

As well as the personal strain, the National Mental Health Commission reports that poor mental health costs the Australian economy around $60 billion a year in lost productivity.

If someone you know needs help, Lifeline is available on 13 11 14.

Quotes attributable to Kate Washington MP

“I was so pleased to join staff and managers of Weathertex to reinforce the message about taking mental health seriously.

“This is a great example of unions and management working together to support their workers, particularly in a male dominated industry, to have these important discussions.

“Weathertex is a large local employer and I’m pleased to see them setting an example for employers to value the mental health of their workforce.

“Congratulations to the AWU for supporting their members’ long term health, and recognising that mental health can be a workplace issue too.

“It is clear that employers who invest in the mental health of their staff will see a more productive and engaged workplace.”

Quotes attributable to Australian Workers Union Organiser Paul O’Brien

“It’s extremely important that we all support this great cause and encourage others to ask the important question: 'are you OK?’.

“We all know someone that has been affected by mental health issues and suicide. It’s a closer problem than you often think.

“The number one priority of the Australian Workers' Union is keeping our members safe at work, but for far too long, mental health was an overlooked part of this. No longer.

“It's commendable that employers, like Weathertex, are ensuring it’s clear to workers that it’s OK to speak openly and honestly about mental health.

“We thank Kate for being a vocal and passionate supporter of this important initiative."

This item was distributed as a media release on Monday 17 September 2018.

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