Serco helps grow awareness of mental health inside NSW correctional centres

Published: 10 Sep 2021

Serco has joined more than 645 organisations and community groups to bring awareness to mental health on World Suicide Prevention Day, through the Blue Tree Project.

Today Clarence Correctional Centre will be joining correctional centres across NSW taking part in the Blue Tree Project to tackle mental health and suicide. Using blue trees as a visual reminder to check in on friends and family, the project aims to start difficult conversations about depression and anxiety.

Clarence Correctional Centre General Manager Glen Scholes said through spreading the message that “it’s OK to not be OK” Serco hopes to help break the stigma attached to mental health in a correctional environment.

“I have worked in corrections for more than 30 years and have seen first-hand how important open and honest conversations around mental health are. More than 400 staff now work at the centre, so we need to ensure that these conversations are active in the workplace every day,” Mr Scholes said.

“We jumped at the chance to be part of the Blue Tree project as it aligns so well to our Serco values. Encouraging people to speak up when battling mental health concerns is an important part of the overall support for our staff to help carry out the essential services they provide for the community.”

Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) Staff Wellbeing and Resilience Project Manager Jane Cox, who leads the program for CSNSW, said NSW correctional centres are playing an integral part in the Blue Tree Project.

“Our aim is to have the Blue Tree Project encourage staff to think about how their workmates are actually doing today and to reach out if things don’t seem quite right,” Senior Assistant Superintendent Cox said.

“To support this awareness, CSNSW has joined the project and this week reached our goal to have 50 blue tree installations by World Suicide Prevention Day across NSW.”

Today Clarence Correctional Centre unveiled the 51st and 52nd blue trees to be installed within NSW correctional centres and across CSNSW workplaces.

“A ten-metre mural and blue light installation are Serco’s contribution to the project as we work in conjunction with CSNSW to raise awareness of the impact of mental health in our communities and share support for the people that need it,” Mr Scholes said.

“The importance of The Blue Tree project is about bringing people together. Mental health in a correctional environment effects everyone from staff and their loved ones, the community and visitors right through to those in our care. We need to always keep the conversation going.”

Clarence Correctional Centre is a partnership including Serco, CSNSW and NorthernPathways. The Centre is expected to inject $560 million into the local Clarence Valley economy over the next 20 years.

ENDS

Media contact: Tim Evans, +61 409 389 358 or Serco media line, +61 (0) 2 9409 8700 media@serco-ap.com

 

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