Hunterlink Continues To Win Awards For Excellence

Employee Assistance Provider Hunterlink National has won even more national and international recognition for its mental health assistance for workers in Australia and the Asia Pacific Region.

The employee support services group won the prestigious Lloyd’s List Best Welfare Service Award at the newspaper’s annual awards for its work supporting employers and employees across the maritime industry.

Hunterlink also won the inaugural Maritime and Logistics White Ribbon Domestic Violence Award at a special presentation in Melbourne.

In the past year alone, the group has delivered more than 12,000 counselling sessions to workers in the maritime industry employed here in Australia, and to seafarers on international ships visiting Australian ports.  

The MUA, CFMEU and other community and social groups set up Hunterlink in the Newcastle region in 2011 to provide social assistance to workers through counselling, referrals and providing assistance to finding housing, crisis help to just someone to talk to.

Since that time, the service has expanded to include a 24-hour national helpline and continues to assist clients with life-changing events such as redundancy, family breakdown, substance abuse, suicide, mental illness and deaths in the workplace.

“When we have tragedies at sea or at home, Hunterlink is there,” Hunterlink Chair Paddy Crumlin said.

“Hunterlink staff have done an outstanding job helping countless Australian maritime workers, as well as foreign seafarers visiting our shores to stay mentally fit and healthy on the job and at home.”

Hunterlink chief executive Gavin Kelso said the recent awards reflected changing community attitudes towards recognising the need for workforces to be mentally healthy.

“These awards are welcome recognition by the industry and peer leaders of the important work Hunterlink is undertaking to assist workers and address their mental health and well-being issues,” Mr Kelso said.

“Importantly, employers are increasingly recognising the value of a mentally healthy workforce, and are showing far greater confidence in and support for Hunterlink.”

Hunterlink Board employer Director, John Grey added the awards reflect strongly on the quality of delivery of the service.

“Hunterlink's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is widely recognised in the Australian maritime industry as being at the cutting edge of best practice EAP delivery,” Mr Grey said.

“Employers are realising significant productivity benefits from these EAP services.”

Latest figures show around one in 10 workers of an EAP partner contacts Hunterlink, indicating the depth of mental health stress in the workforce and the significant savings to both functional lives and enterprise productivity from early intervention services.

Hunterlink Global was also recently selected by the ITF and its shipping industry partners in the Asia Pacific region to work with one of the biggest seafarer labour supply firms in the Philippines, Magsaysay Corporation.

The new joint venture project will integrate mental health services into the welfare support provided to the 45,000 Filipino seafarers supplied to international ship owners by Magsaysay Corporation. 

It’s intended to expand the Philippine based project to Myanmar next year and then roll it out to other countries in the Asia Pacific region in the period ahead.

Crumlin applauded the new partnership, saying it will spread the benefits enjoyed in Australia to the world.

“The ITF is grateful for the confidence shown in Hunterlink by global companies such as Magsaysay, but also Svitzer, Farstad, CSL Shipping and others who have been benefiting from Hunterlink's services in Australia for some years,” he said.