On Rail R U OK?Day, the Australian rail industry is taking a proactive approach to the emotional wellbeing of its 110,000 employees through the launch of its RailRes app. The app is designed to help employees manage their immediate responses to stress, and to help build their resilience.
“Train drivers, guards, station staff and other rail industry employees are often the first people on the scene when incidents take place on the network. Witnessing these events can cause severe mental, physical and emotional trauma. This is why the industry came together to found the TrackSAFE Foundation, so we could provide suicide prevention strategies, tools and advice to help our people feel safe and supported at work,” said Naomi Frauenfelder, Executive Director of the TrackSAFE Foundation.
The RailRes app builds on the success of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs High Res app and draws on insights and recommendations from a team of rail employees. Ms Frauenfelder says the app is an industry first because it is the first rail-specific trauma support tool on offer through a mobile device.
“Rail employees can use the app to ‘test’ their response to stress and ‘adjust’ their physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioural reactions to stress. The app provides a range of interactive and easy-to-use tools and exercises including progressive muscle relaxation and learning how to challenge and change negative or unhelpful thoughts,” said Ms Frauenfelder.
Coping with trauma and stress
The National Secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, Bob Nanva, says the Rail Res app will help rail industry workers take control of stress and anxiety from the many pressures they are faced with.
“Working in the transport industry can be highly stressful and demanding, especially in the rail industry where millions of commuters are using the network everyday. Whether it’s a daily battle or an occasional episode, the effects of stress –or even trauma– can take a serious toll on productivity, and more importantly our workers’ health. Fortunately the new RailRes app can bring immediate stress management within easy reach,” Mr Nanva said.
The app can be downloaded via the App store.
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CEO of suicide prevention charity R U OK?, Brendan Maher, says the partnership with TrackSAFE is an invaluable opportunity to engage the rail industry and Rail R U OK?Day is an opportunity for workmates to re-commit to being there for one another.
“Whenever you notice that someone is tired, a bit stressed, distracted by things happening at home, or is not themselves, take the time to check in with that person and see how they’re doing,” Mr Maher said. “It’s not about providing a solution or fixing their problem, it’s about letting them know they’re surrounded by people who care.”
Former Australian Wallabies Captain and R U OK? Ambassador Phil Waugh says these conversations can change the culture of a workplace. “As men, we can sometimes feel that we shouldn’t show emotion or vulnerability. We need toremind each other that it’s ok not to be ok, and to help one another through those rough patches when we can,” he said.
A sentiment Ms Frauenfelder echoes: “Get behind Rail R U OK?Day today and any day a workmate’s struggling. By doing so, you’re helping to create workplaces where workmates feel connected and protected from suicide.”