Wellbeing Advisory Committee supporting staff

Article image - Wellbeing Advisory Committee supporting staff Former UFC Heavyweight Soa ‘The Hulk’ Palelei and staff at the City of Cockburn practise their best hulk poses after a presentation in the lead up to R U OK Day 2020.

When you see images or footage of Soa ‘The Hulk’ Palelei, his imposing Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) persona and 6’4”, 130kg frame leave you thinking he’s a tough character inside and out.

But the retired UFC Heavyweight has overcome considerable mental health challenges caused by childhood domestic violence trauma to achieve the 22 wins and 19 knock-outs of his Mixed Martial Arts career.

The man who very nearly represented Australia at the Sydney Olympics has lived in the City of Cockburn, Western Australia, where he raised his family for many years and was the City’s guest in the lead up to R U OK Day on 10 September.

In an initiative supported by the City of Cockburn’s Human Resources team and the staff-led Wellbeing Advisory Committee (WAC), Soa’s revealing presentation was attended by 60 staff.

Established several years ago, the WAC comprises staff with a passion for health and wellbeing from various business units and roles across the City, aiming to implement initiatives to support employee wellbeing.

Apart from Soa’s presentation for R U OK Day, the City hosted morning teas at four of its employment centres and eight 30 minute meditation sessions for the month of September.

Human Resources Manager, Cliff McKinley, said, “Everyone can benefit from wellbeing activities, during times of calm or stress. 

“It’s the nature of our brains and our busy lives to sometimes need extra support to get through challenging times that may increase depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.

“This is why we offer these supports, over and above an extensive Employee Assistance Program, to our team.”

Regular health and wellbeing staff initiatives at Cockburn include:

  • mindfulness, yoga and meditation sessions
  • mental health info boxes at every worksite
  • Brain Ambulance information and training sessions
  • a dedicated meditation room
  • a Mental Health First Aid Facilitator to provide Mental Health First Aid training
  • membership to the City’s aquatic and recreation centre.