The part peo­ple play in in­dus­try suc­cess

Australian Forests and Timber - - Tca - By Helen Mur­ray Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor / Tim­ber Com­mu­ni­ties Aus­tralia

The tag line used by Tim­ber Com­mu­ni­ties Aus­tralia is healthy land­scapes, healthy economies, healthy com­mu­ni­ties.

Our mem­bers and other sup­port­ers are brought to­gether by our com­mon in­ter­est in sus­tain­able forests which are trea­sured for their nat­u­ral beauty, for the es­sen­tial role they play for ecosys­tems, for bio­di­ver­sity and for the won­der­ful re­new­able prod­ucts they con­tain to sus­tain hu­man so­ci­ety.

We know it’s im­por­tant to look af­ter our forests. What about our peo­ple? This is the topic I’ve been moved to fo­cus upon as I write this in Men­tal Health Month.

As I type, it’s a beau­ti­ful spring day in the ru­ral dis­trict where I live. A faith­ful lit­tle dog lies at my feet and blue wrens are hop­ping about the green­ery beyond the win­dow. Trees that shed their leaves dur­ing the long, cold win­ter are turn­ing shades of green. Poplars faint as faint, wil­low branches danc­ing greener every hour, whilst the elm and oak leaves are still to be coaxed along. It is good to be alive. Eu­ca­lypts shim­mer blue on the hills. It’s a scene that never fails to re­ju­ve­nate the tiredest of souls.

So much to do

But back to our in­dus­try. There’s so very much to do – isn’t there? Re­gional For­est Agree­ments to re­new, gov­ern­ment leg­is­la­tion to lobby for more of or less of, more trees needed in the right place at the right time, so much fur­ther to go to have enough wood sup­ply for our own peo­ple, let alone grow­ing pop­u­la­tions to Aus­tralia’s north, il­le­gal log­ging to stamp out, en­ergy costs off the radar, new plan­ta­tion ar­eas to be found, new skills and work­force gaps to fill, schools to reach, mes­sages to re­in­force, roads to be up­graded, coun­cils to be wres­tled with, safety mea­sures to up­grade, bet­ter busi­ness prac­tices to achieve, dead­lines to meet, fi­nance and equip­ment to sort out, har­vest pro­to­cols to man­age, com­mu­nity en­gage­ment let­ters to send, meet­ings to be had, seedlings to grow or get in the ground, state gov­ern­ments tread­ing water, new for­est stan­dards to un­der­stand, au­dits to be done, more fund­ing to be raised, re­ports to be writ­ten, bud­gets to trim or ex­ceed and plans, plans, plans - ev­ery­where for ev­ery­thing.

I think it is a fair call to ac­knowl­edge that there’s a lot of pres­sure in our in­dus­try, which causes stress and takes a toll on the health and well­be­ing of our peo­ple.

There is no down time

The won­der­ful ben­e­fits of the wire­less age also mean we are avail­able to ev­ery­one, all the time. There is no down time, un­less we en­force it for our­selves. In fact, some­times I feel I am in tech­nol­ogy over­dose from be­ing glued to screens of one size or another every day. To work, to bank, to shop, to com­mu­ni­cate, to re­search things.

With that en­vi­ron­ment so en­trenched – it’s just so im­por­tant to look af­ter our own health and well­be­ing. The Land news­pa­per in NSW just re­leased its 6th Men­tal Health Glove­box Guide. It has top notch short ar­ti­cles, hints, per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences of ru­ral peo­ple and ex­pert re­sources in one place. It en­cour­ages us to recog­nise the health of our brain is as im­por­tant as the rest of our body. It’s avail­able on­line (of course it is!) and I com­mend it to you.

The R U OK web­site is a great place for tips if you are wor­ried about a some­one – in­clud­ing a work col­league. It has down to earth tips to help con­nect and check in with some­one who may be do­ing it tough, in­clud­ing an RU OK ru­ral and mateship man­ual. I was struck by this sim­ple ad­vice from www.ruok. org.au, “Got a nig­gling feel­ing that some­one you know or care about it isn’t be­hav­ing as they nor­mally would? … Trust that gut in­stinct and act on it. By start­ing a con­ver­sa­tion and com­ment­ing on the changes you’ve no­ticed, you could help that fam­ily mem­ber, friend or work­mate open up. If they say they are not ok, you can fol­low our con­ver­sa­tion steps to show them they’re sup­ported and help them find strate­gies to bet­ter man­age the load. If they are ok, that per­son will know you’re some­one who cares enough to ask.”

Our in­dus­try work is mo­ti­vat­ing and im­por­tant and de­mand­ing. Ul­ti­mately suc­cess de­pends on our peo­ple. In­spired by Men­tal Health Month, I’ve re­solved to look af­ter my own men­tal health a lit­tle more and look out for my col­leagues a lit­tle more. Maybe you’d care to do so, too.

I think it is a fair call to ac­knowl­edge that there’s a lot of pres­sure in our in­dus­try, which causes stress and takes a toll on the health and well­be­ing of our peo­ple.

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