Health and wellbeing
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Influenza (flu) Vaccination Program 2020
To support you to keep fit and well through the winter months, the department is offering an annual vaccination this flu season for all staff members.
Influenza is a highly contagious acute respiratory illness, commonly called “the flu”. It is a contagious disease caused by a virus which spreads easily from person to person.
You can access a flu vaccination in any of the following three ways:
- Chemist voucher – request a voucher to get the vaccine administered at your nearest participating chemist. Search for a local chemist and request a voucher using the online booking form available on the intranet in the Wellbeing section.
- On-site vaccinations – vaccinations will be available at some front-line sites and offices from 7 April to 30 May 2020. A schedule confirming locations will be available shortly and may be subject to change as a result of COVID-19 (coronavirus). We expect to be able to offer out of normal business hours vaccination times to make it easier for those with caring responsibilities and facilitate social distancing.
- Reimbursement options – staff who are unable to access onsite or local arrangements, and choose to pay for the vaccine, will be entitled to a reimbursement of up to $25. Reimbursement is only valid for vaccines delivered between 20 March and 1 June 2020. You can submit a reimbursement form using the Vitality Works link on the FACS and Justice Influenza Vaccination Program intranet pages. Please note you will need a digital receipt showing the details of the immunisation supplier, date and transaction amount. Reimbursement forms must be submitted by Monday, 15 June 2020.
More information about these options, as well as other State and National programs is available on the intranet. If you have any questions, please email WorkforceSafety&Wellbeing@facs.nsw.gov.au.
You can also read more about flu season and the vaccination on the intranet and NSW Health website.
During this unfamiliar time, our resilience may not be at its usual levels. It’s normal to feel worried or stressed. Below are some tools you can use to support your mental health and help you cope with any anxiety and stress.
- Remember that this is temporary. It will pass and life will return to normal.
- Remember that your effort is helping others in the community; whether you’re staying home to limit the spread of the virus, or working on the frontline to maintain essential services for the NSW community.
- Stay connected with friends, family and colleagues by phone, text, video chat and social media. Don’t underestimate connecting with your community through community forums, social networks or the Department’s employee assistance programs.
- Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing such as meditation, yoga, running or walking your dog. Various organisations and gyms are offering online versions of classes.
- Establish routines as best possible and try to view this period as a new experience that can bring health benefits. Keep regular sleep routines and healthy eating habits.
- If you’re working from home, try to maintain a healthy work-life balance by allocating specific work hours, taking regular breaks and, if possible, establishing a dedicated workspace.
- Limit your television or social media news intake if you find it distressing. Get the facts from reliable sources like Australian Government websites or the World Health Organisation website.
If you feel stress and anxiety is impacting your ability to function at work or home, you may need a little extra support.
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to listen to you and provide confidential advice, support, and information. Your immediate family can also access support under the EAP.
Help for former Family and Community Services staff
Help for former Justice staff
If you see or become aware of any uncharacteristic behaviour or changes with your staff, see it as a prompt for offering further support, and possibly, additional professional help.
Remember – if you are unsure what to do, access Manager Assist through EAP to talk over concerns you may have about your staff.
- Employee Assistance Provider: Converge International resources
- Employee Assistance Provider: Benestar resources
- NSW Health tips for you and your family to help cope with home isolation
- How to take care of your mental health video
- Building personal resilience through COVID-19
- Get Healthy at Work: 10 tips to work well from home
Regular exercise and good nutrition can help boost your mood, concentration and mental health.
YouTube and exercise apps can also be a good source for workouts to do at home. Make sure to follow these tips to workout at home safely to keep your body injury-free.
As we’re spending more time cooking and eating at home, it’s important to combine exercise with healthy eating habits. For a range of healthy eating and lifestyle tips, visit the Make Healthy Normal website and Facebook page. You can also start with small changes like making healthy food swaps to curb your sugar cravings.
For more resources and tips to help you make small, healthy changes to your lifestyle, check out the following factsheets from Get Healthy at Work:
- Being healthy while working from home
- Healthy eating while working from home
- Tips to reduce your alcohol consumption while working from home
- Quitting smoking while working from home
Safety at work
Tips to avoid touching your face
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, health professionals have cautioned us to avoid touching our face to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. However, when we’re told not to do something, fighting the urge can often feel more intense.
There are many reasons why we can’t stop touching our face. First, a lot of face-touching habits are subconscious. For example, scratching an itch on your nose or rubbing tired eyes. Touching our face can also be a non-verbal way to communicate our feelings — like brushing hair out of your face when you feel anxious, or rubbing your eye when you doubt what someone is saying. Stress and boredom can intensify the impulse to touch your face too.
Like any habit that is difficult to stop, be mindful about the intention to touch your face and replace it with an alternative behaviour. When you have the urge to touch your face, touch another part of your body instead, such as your arm, or hold an object, like a stress ball. This acts as a way of telling your brain to pay attention and turn an unconscious habit into a conscious one. After a few weeks, the repetitive behaviour can help break the habit of frequently touching your face.
Other measures you should take to reduce the risk of catching and spreading COVID-19 are:
- staying home if you’re not feeling well, and avoiding close contact with anyone who has flu-like symptoms
- washing your hands regularly (or using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol)
- covering your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or a flexed elbow
- cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects like phones, doorknobs and handles
- maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres from others as much as possible.