HomeNews & Media CentreArticlesCorporate HealthIntroducing our National Psychology Services Manager – Deborah Shand

Introducing our National Psychology Services Manager – Deborah Shand

At Rehab Management, we have been busy developing and expanding the psychological services we provide as part of our Return to Work services. We spoke to our National Psychology Services Manager, Deborah Shand, about her role at Rehab Management, what a typical day looks like for her and the types of psychological support Rehab Management can provide.

 

What is your role at Rehab Management?

I’m the National Psychology Services Manager. As it is a new position, my role is ever-evolving. My focus is on supporting staff who have clients with a psychological condition, as well as developing and expanding the psychological services we provide at Rehab Management. From day one, I have received so much support and encouragement to develop RM’s psychological services, and that allows me the freedom to dream big, and be encouraged to do so.

 

 

Can you outline your experience and background in psychology?

I started my career working in Community Mental Health, splitting my time between an adult service, and an infant, child, and youth one. It was baptism by fire, but an amazing learning experience! In addition to individual therapy, I was also a Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) clinician and created a complex trauma clinic after seeing the desperate need for one.

Next, I worked at headspace. I started as a Team Leader for their newly developed Youth Early Psychosis Program, and it was fantastic to be there right from the beginning when we hired staff, wrote procedures etc. Then I moved to Service Manager at headspace and opened 2 more services – an education and employment service to return young people to work or school, and an outreach complex youth mental health service. One of the best experiences I had at headspace was bringing on peer workers – it was completely new to us to hire people with a lived experience into these specific roles and was such a brilliant addition to the teams.

I also worked at a private mental health inpatient hospital as the Allied Health Manager, and COVID hit Australia 6 months after I started! It required a lot of juggling to make sure we could keep the hospital running at full capacity but maintain a safe environment for everyone by following health recommendations, but we did it.

I started at Rehab Management in December of 2021. I did some research into Rehab Management and was really impressed by the company’s values. I was also excited to work for a company who saw a need to develop a new role and wanted to ensure both staff and clients were provided with the best support and services.

 

What does a typical day look like for you at RM?

At the moment, I provide group supervision to staff, ad-hoc support for staff (they may want to discuss a client’s risk, or how to best support their client), assist provisional psychologists to complete their internship, work with registered psychologists to expand the services they provide, write procedures and review psych documents to ensure everything we have is current and processes are clear, attend meetings to discuss the wider RM service or work on new projects, write and run clinical training, and I’ve just taken over as the Employee Assistant Account Manager, so I’m focussing on that service.

In the future, the plan is to greatly expand our clinical services, so I’m excited for Rehab Management to be able to provide more support for our clients, and for our staff to be able to work in a range of new clinical services.

 

What psych services are available through RM?

We have an Employee Assistance Program, where workers (and sometimes their family) can access free psychological therapy. We also run corporate training and provide critical incident support.

Find out more about our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) here.

In terms of RTW services, we undertake a range of psychological assessments, including a Needs Assessment, Functional Assessment, and Workplace Assessment, in addition to rehabilitation consulting where we assist individuals to return to work in an individualised way that allows them to undertake their employment in a safe and supported manner. We have a range of fantastic and innovative coaching services, which utilise technology and allow clients to be in control of their journey as RM staff walk beside them and support them to reach their mental health and employment goals.

 

When would an individual need a psychologist in their RTW journey?

Just as the incidence of mental illness has increased in the wider population, we are seeing an increasing number of workers with either psychological symptoms as their main presenting issue, or having developed psychological issues after a physical injury, especially when their physical injury has resulted in chronic pain or a long absence from work. We know that the longer individuals are left without support for mental health issues, the more it impacts on their day-to-day functioning.

Our main goal is to increase an individual’s functioning and assist to return them to their regular daily activities. Work itself can be a form of “treatment”, since it provides us with a sense of purpose, requires us to maintain a daily routine, and increases our contact with other people. It also reduces the secondary difficulties that come with absence from work, such as financial stress. We suggest anyone with psychological symptoms that requires them to take time off work engage a psychologist ASAP.

Some key flags for utilising a psychologist in their RTW journey would be when their physical or psychological issues are not improving in line with expectations, any time there is more than one medical or psychological condition (such as a physical injury as well as depression. Or anxiety and excessive alcohol use), if they are reluctant to take part in their rehabilitation process or there is conflict or a difference of opinion between parties involves in their RTW, if they have strong emotions towards their illness or injury, or where there is workplace conflict.

To find out more about the psychological services we offer, visit our website or call 1300 390 222.

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