Jen Lloyd pictured

Starting a new job in a new town during a pandemic when many people are not attending an office can often mean you don't get to know your new team members as well as you normally would. 

That has not been the case for Safety, Health, Environment & Quality Advisor Jen Lloyd, who moved to Victoria from Darwin early last year. 

Jen works in Ventia's Defence sector and lives and works on the Puckapunyal Army Base in central Victoria. 

"Living on the base is great," Jen says.

There's a real sense of community there, and I seem to know most people on base by now!

Utilising technology to be connected

Jen says one of the reasons she's been able to get to know team members who aren't located at Puckapunyal so well is through attending online Teams calls.

"When I started it wasn't long before we went into our first lockdown. This gave me an opportunity to network and meet a lot of colleagues online and was crucial to building those relationships," she says. "When I did finally get around to some of the bases, people already knew who I was."

Jen Lloyd pictured
Jen pictured with virtual reality technology

Safety and health above all else

Building and nourishing good relationships both on the base and outside of it has been key to Jen maintaining strong mental health over the past 18 months. As one of Ventia's 120+ Healthy Minds Champions, this is one piece of advice Jen also gives to any employees that come to her for a chat. 

"My role in health and safety has always been about talking to people and helping them, particularly as I look after the injury management process," Jen says.

"But since I became a Healthy Minds Champion, I am getting a lot more questions related to mental health."

She says she believes it's important to have mentors that you can reach out to and praises her boss for being a great sounding board. 

"You also need people outside work, whether that's friends and family or just an extended social circle through a mother's group or a sporting team perhaps."

Jen Lloyd
Jen's two children pictured

Jen became a Healthy Minds Champion when the program launched last year, and in addition to the training and support provided to her as a Champion, she has also undertaken at lot of independent study and training over the years.

"I took a mental health first aid course and invested a lot in my personal development around human behaviour, neurosciences and physiology. This led me naturally into the role as HMC."

Ventia's Healthy Minds program for employee mental health support

Ventia's mental health program - Healthy Minds - is designed to increase mental health awareness, reduce stigma, and to build our capability to support a mentally healthy workplace. Our Healthy Minds Champions are volunteers who are passionate about helping others who are struggling with their mental health.

They will listen without judgement and if required help our employees to seek further assistance.

Jen says sometimes people just want to chat, and other times they need help knowing where to go for more substantial support. Either way, she says it's important for her to be an active listener and not to try and solve everyone's problems.  

She also says she's definitely a 'glass half full' person.

"It's sometimes hard when you're in the moment to think there are positives that will come out of what's happening," Jen says.

I believe my role is to give people the tools to go out and manage whatever they are going through so they can see there is a light at the end of the tunnel.