Mental health talks aid RAAF personnel

Tuesday 21 Nov 2017

A Charles Sturt University (CSU) academic has addressed Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel at RAAF Base Williamtown during their Mental Health Day activities.

Charles Sturt University (CSU) School of Psychology lecturer Ms Renee Walker spoke to personnel at Number 81 Wing Combined Workshops (81WG CWKS), a maintenance unit located at RAAF Base Williamtown, near Newcastle NSW, which is responsible for deeper level maintenance and logistics support to the FA-18A/B Hornet aircraft. 

FA-18A/B Hornet aircraft are multi-role fighter jets designed for both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. They are capable of air interception, air combat, close air support of ground troops, and interdiction of enemy supply lines including shipping. 

"Many of the RAAF personnel have been within the local area for several years and are often called upon to deploy on exercises locally and overseas," Ms Walker said. "Some exercises last for three to four weeks, and some operations overseas can last up to six and a half months.

"This kind of work can have an enormous strain on the team and can affect overall wellbeing so it's important that their training includes a focus on mental health.

"My talk focused on positive psychology, focusing on strengths, not weaknesses, how stress can impact your productivity, and how to start making positive changes in life."

Commanding Officer (CO) of 81WG CWKS, Wing Commander Terry Pridham, is a strong supporter of mental health awareness and self-development within the unit, and asked his team to coordinate a day comprising educational and supportive information. 

The morning of the Mental Health Day consisted of lectures and information sessions from guest presenters in different fields to provide an understanding, information, and advice on the improvement of staff wellbeing.

The afternoon focused on small group interactive activities such as Tai Chi, mindfulness training, and TED talks and some fun competition.

Ms Walker recently received recognition from her peers for her work with the CSU School of Psychology in Port Macquarie in the 2017 World Teacher Day Awards.


Media contact: Holly Manning, 0418 654 226

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Ms Renee Walker.