Mock Court Trial sheds light on mental health management

The recent landmark court case in Victoria cast a spotlight on the crucial need for mentally healthy workplaces in the public sector.

Court Services Victoria faced a hefty fine of nearly $400,000 due to a toxic work environment.

Beyond moral, ethical, and Work Health and Safety (WHS) responsibilities, ensuring safe working spaces is a legal requirement. To delve into these responsibilities, Insurance for NSW collaborated with the Ministry of Health to conduct a Mock Court Trial.

The Mock Court was an interactive learning experience mirroring real-life legal proceedings. Skilled volunteers, including experienced legal professionals, assembled to simulate a realistic courtroom setting. Participants, including team leaders from various Local Area Health Districts, engaged in a hypothetical legal case designed to address the complex management of psychosocial risks in healthcare settings.

This mock trial provided essential knowledge about due diligence in adhering to WHS legislation, and enhanced understanding of everyday practices critical to maintaining mental health in the workplace.

"The data is clear: we're seeing a significant rise in psychological claims, which underscores the need for more effective management strategies," said Joanne Bartley, icare Injury Prevention Manager.

"We're committed to empowering agencies with new learning and skills to improve the management of psychological hazards at work. Through this simulated legal situation, we focused on the importance of diligent compliance with WHS legislation, and prioritising mental health in daily healthcare operations," Sharon Johnson, Client Education Lead at Insurance for NSW added.

The event also served as a poignant reminder following the tragic case of lawyer Jessica Morgana Wilby, and the subsequent conviction of Court Services Victoria, highlighting the catastrophic consequences of neglecting workplace mental health.

Feedback from attendees' post-trial was overwhelmingly positive, with a high satisfaction rating of 4.63 out of 5. Participants gained an increased awareness of the need for proactive risk management and a deeper grasp of their responsibilities under WHS legislation.

"With this initiative, icare and the Ministry of Health have established a new standard in collaborative learning and proactive health and safety management, marking a significant step towards a safer, more resilient healthcare sector," Sharon said.

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