By Stephen Harrison:

The Anglican Church Southern Queensland (ACSQ) offers clergy, staff, chaplains and pastoral carers and formation students, along with eligible members of their households*, free access to Flourish, a wellbeing programme provided by external consultant, LifeWorks.

Flourish offers a range of services, including up to six one-hour confidential counselling services per year, with face-to-face, over-the-phone and video call options.

Use of the Flourish counselling service is confidential, as the service provider does not identify service users in invoices or reports.

Flourish has a longstanding relationship with the ACSQ, with the programmes in the past, for example, including a prison chaplain Wellbeing Check Programme and education services for formation students.

In 2020, the counselling component of the Flourish programme received a 96 per cent satisfaction rating and a utilisation rate of 3.3 per cent, which is consistent with the usage rate across all industries.

Ninety-six per cent of the ACSQ Flourish counselling clients in 2020 were clergy or staff, and so we encourage parish priests and other managers to get word out about the eligibility of other household members* to access the valuable free services.

The majority of ASCQ clergy and staff, and household members, who used the Flourish programme last year were from the Southern Region, and so I would like to take this opportunity to encourage people from the Western and Northern Regions to access the free service when needed.

Sixty per cent of ACSQ people who used the service in 2020 were female, with 71 per cent of clients aged over 45 years. Interestingly, these figures contrast with Flourish’s benchmarking statistics, with an average of 30 per cent of men using the service across other industries and the service’s largest client demographic being the 34 to 45 age range. These figures possibly reflect the openness of more males in our community to seek counselling when needed and the higher mean age of our clergy and staff compared to other industries.

Seventy-four per cent of those from our Diocesan community who accessed the counselling service sought assistance for personal matters, with only 26 per cent of people seeking assistance for work-related concerns. Of these personal matters, 21 per cent sought help for coping with stress, with the remaining clients variously seeking help for family, health, interpersonal or other concerns.

Fifty-eight per cent of ACSQ clients chose to have appointments over the phone (possibly reflecting the constraints of the COVID-19 environment), with 30 per cent of clients opting for face-to-face appointments and one per cent choosing to meet with the practitioner online.

Importantly, Flourish also offers a free app with articles, podcasts and other resources on a variety of topics, including retirement planning, living healthily, coping and resilience, relationships, work/life balance and dealing with depression, abuse or health related matters. Users may extend their app access for up to five family members, enabling these family members to use the app. The app also offers a ‘Perks’ feature with a range of exclusive discounts covering shopping, dining and lifestyle and entertainment service providers and retailers.

A ‘Leaders Hotline’ is also available, offering advice on bullying and harassment, conflict resolution and staff performance improvement.

*The following people are eligible to use the ACSQ’s Flourish service:

  • Licensed clergy (Bishops, Priests, Deacons)
  • Retired clergy (includes PTO)
  • Stipendiary (paid) lay ministers
  • Chaplains and pastoral carers (includes volunteer Chaplains / Pastoral Carers)
  • Formation students
  • Parish staff
  • Other Diocesan staff
  • Spouses and dependent family members living at the same residence of any of the above.

For more information on the ACSQ Flourish programme (for you, your employees or household members*), please visit The ARC (the ACSQ Intranet) or call Flourish on 1300 361 008, or contact the Work Health and Safety Advisor Michael Kucera via mkucera@anglicanchurchsq.org.au or 07 3835 2315.

First published on anglican focus on 1 February 2021.

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