Standing shoulder to shoulder with our peers

06 December 2023
  • Ideas & info

Life can get tough for everyone at times, and often a friendly chat is just what you need to turn the corner. And for RSL Queensland employees, that’s where the Peer Support Program comes in.

RSL Queensland’s volunteer support network of Peer Support Responders are employees from within the organisation who are trained to look, listen and link people to the appropriate support. Each Responder is trained in what to look for, how to have conversations that count, and what resources or services are appropriate.

It’s just one of the many benefits of working at RSL Queensland. Other benefits include a free Employee Assistance Program, and dedicated HR Business Partners for each department that support the RSL Queensland team through all stages of the employee journey. But the Peer Support Program stands alone due to its unique nature. 

Amy Cameron, RSL Queensland’s Principal HR Business Partner, says the Peer Support Program is a key part of RSL Queensland’s commitment to creating a working environment where all of our people are empowered to bring their whole and best selves to work, and where they are safe, cared for, and truly belong.

“The principle that underpins the Peer Support Program is that when we do our regular nomination process for new responders, any employees can nominate someone who they already go to for a friendly ear during tough times,” Amy says.

“It means we’re starting with a great foundation and that we fundamentally have a workforce that cares and does things with heart.

“This program is also a big investment in our people – and the fact that our leaders are behind it and support it is very special.

“And if we look after our people, they in turn are better able to support veterans and their families. It’s a win for everyone.”

RSL Queensland Peer Support Program

The Peer Support Program was founded in 2021 with RSL Queensland hitting the milestone of 40 fully trained Responders (more than 10% of our workforce) just a few years later. And you can’t miss them; Responders wear shirts and lanyards highlighting that they’re a Responder, and are ready to listen and help.

Amy says each Responder is carefully trained, with the aim of the program being more than just a means for teammates to have a confidential chat during challenging times.

“Our Responders are trained to look, listen and link people to the appropriate services or resources,” she explains.

“The training they go through is pretty intense and we use people who already have these conversations with teammates in perhaps a more informal manner.

“This program allows them to take that a step further and be armed with national accredited Mental Health First Aid so they have those foundations, and they can lean on tried and tested conversations.”

RSL Queensland Peer Support Program

And here’s what Responder and General Manager – Marketing & Communications Laura McMahon says about why she joined the program.

“I’ve always believed in the power of ‘people helping people’, and the Peer Support Program has given me the chance to put that belief into practice,” Laura says.

“From my experience, help can come in many forms, and something small can often mean a big deal to someone else.

“So, being able to be that point of call when someone needs someone to talk to, just to lend an ear, or be there when life is a little difficult to navigate, is honestly a privilege.”

Laura believes the program is very special.

“The Peer Support Program is fully supported by our executive management, and this speaks to the importance of staff wellbeing within our organisation,” she said.

“The investment of accredited training and support for responders demonstrates the commitment to ensuring they are fully equipped to help staff who are impacted or find themselves in stressful situations.

“This is a wonderful program, resourced with a dedicated group of people who are here to help. Reaching out is often the hardest part and having the courage to do so means you are on the path to getting help.

“And if I can help one person, then that is the best difference I can make. And if that person can go on and then help someone else one day, then we are collectively making a positive difference.”

RSL Queensland Peer Support Program