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23 Aug 2021

Increasing our team’s confidence to support people in distress

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To equip our team members with the confidence and capabilities to engage and support people in our Westfield Living Centres who may be in crisis, we have rolled out bespoke Mental Health First Aid Training across our portfolio. 

The four-hour training focuses on the prevalence of mental health distress and conditions in our communities, combatting stigma and misconceptions, and providing our teams with practical tools to identify and support people who may be in distress while visiting one of our Living Centres. 

While the training is grounded in our Youth Resilience Plan to engage youth, promote positive social behaviours and nurture resilience, the approach and skills learnt can be applied to all relevant situations, and given the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our customers, business partners and teams, this capability is more important than ever. 


Our National Community Experience Manager, Pam Wilson, said: “Overwhelmingly our team members agreed the training equipped them to better identify the signs of distress and crisis. This is hugely important as it’s the first step in being able to engage and support someone in distress.

“They also felt confident to use the tools they were taught, with 99 per cent of team members rating their confidence as very high or high after the training, up from just 40 per cent before the training.”

The training included videos from community members and two of our own Risk and Security Managers who shared their lived experiences as case studies to support the team’s learning which our team highly valued. 

“This session was so valuable I can’t believe I have never learnt this content until today. We should be teaching this in schools and I feel really grateful our company sees the value in this. Thank you!”

 “The real-life examples from people who have worked through mental illness was quite impactful, as well as the group’s willingness to talk to examples they have faced either at work or home.”

“Hearing from the members of the public who has/had suffered through mental illness and what signs to look out for really helped my understanding. Ultimately they just want to be treated with respect whilst they are experiencing their mental break or issue.”

Importantly, the training is customised to our Scentre Group operating environment and complements existing training we deliver, including Maybo Conflict Resolution and Fulcrum Emergency Management, and integrates with our Customer Service and Security policies and procedures.

What comes next…
With team members being so highly engaged with the Mental Health Training, we are working with our training partner, Aspect Mental Health, to evolve the training for our wider teams as well as explore how we could engage our service providers with a shortened practical session to be rolled out in early 2022. 

Westfield Marion team members having completed the Mental Health Training, from left: Kelsey Heenan – Retail Manager, Nicholas Russo – Services Manager & Marteine Edwards – Centre Manager


We operate our Westfield Living Centres through a customer-obsessed lens and engage with our communities in ways that are meaningful to them. Every centre has a bespoke Community Plan that identifies the opportunities, needs, local partnerships and initiatives that are most relevant to the community. In addition, we have a Youth Resilience Plan specifically designed to empower and equip our teams to help young people in the communities we serve to thrive and build resilience. 

We aim to:
•    proactively and positively engage with young people to cultivate mutual respect and positive behaviour
•    nurture inclusive and capacity building activities for youth
•    improve access for youth to connect with relevant community services.