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I was a Sydney policeman for 30 years, and it's just part of work that you see a lot of people that have passed away, one way or another, and in some of those cases, people that have taken their own life. And in my case, I've seen a lot of that, and I've been to a lot of places where that's happened. But the thing that affected me the most was a colleague who... I wasn't there when it happened, I only learned about it later, and it affected me and it affected everyone at work.
I think management did their best, on the night, to try and meet the needs of the care workers and staff, but I also think they never turned their minds to that. That is was a surprise for them too, and I think their ability to cope as managers or as supervisors was partly affected by the fact that they were friends with this guy. And also, partly because no one had ever thought, "What're we gonna do if this happens to us, in our workplace?"
For bigger companies or bigger organisations, someone needs to turn their mind to it and someone needs to be... from management, someone has to have a role to say when there's real grief in the workplace on the face of management. Like, "I'm the one that will provide support or help," and I don't know, guess every company has to do it their own way, but it seems that nobody does it at the moment. And we all worry about our evacuation plan if the place catches fire, but we don't seem to worry too much about what happens if one of our colleagues is... Takes her own life or is killed in a car accident, or whatever. And that's bound to happen in every workplace. And I think if management turned their mind to that, then it might not be a big crisis when it actually happens.
I suppose every workplace has the internet now and anybody can get online, practically, and search for sites like beyondblue or other sites that support people. But looking at a blank computer screen, no one's gonna think to do that, yeah. Someone needs to have the poster on the wall or someone needs to know that when this stuff happens there's actually a place you go to for help or information, or where you can find people that can provide the help. It's out there, and it's probably more accessible now than it ever was before.