Tracey Tennyson

Conversations can save lives

CS Energy is proud to be a founding member of MATES in Energy, the energy industry arm of the MATES not-for-profit organisation, which launched in July 2018.

We are 100 percent behind the MATES in Energy approach: mates helping mates to help solve a massive problem in Australian society – suicide and mental health.

CS Energy began its association with MATES in Construction in 2015. By early 2017, CS Energy’s three power stations were accredited MATES in Construction sites.

In 2018 there are 69 volunteer ‘Connectors’ at CS Energy – people trained to keep someone safe while connecting them to professional help.

In addition, we have six fully trained ASIST workers at each site. ASIST stands for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. ASIST workers have received more in-depth training in "Suicide First Aid". Learn more about one of them below.

Connector profile – Tracey Tennyson

Tracey Tennyson, a Maintenance Support Officer at Kogan Creek Power Station near Chinchilla in South West Queensland, is an ASIST-trained Connector.

Why did you volunteer to be a Connector?

I see the need – friends, family members, my kids’ friends, and people at work, including contractors, struggling with some big life issues that are really getting them down.

I care deeply about people, and I have always been someone that people talk to and confide in. I wanted to have the skills to assist them so I completed the Connector training, and the extra training to become an ASIST-trained Connector.

How have you used the MATES training?

I have used my training at home, on site and in the community. 

We have about 100 people who work at the power station, and during big maintenance projects like overhauls, we can have up to 200 or 300 extra people on site. 

People are going through some really tough things – relationship breakdowns and issues, illness, grief from the loss of people close to them, and financial difficulties. I have been able to help a number of people – some of them have been at their wit’s end and thinking about suicide, and not known where to turn. 

I have used my skills to check in with people, ask the right questions and connect them to professional help, including counselling and hospital services. 

What are your tips for asking someone if they need help?

Be there. Ask the right questions. Pay attention – no matter what else is going on for you. Remain calm. 

Sometimes the first time you ask someone if they are ok, they will say they are, even if they aren’t. Respect that, but keep an eye on them and ask again if you continue to be concerned and their behaviour indicates that they are not ok.

It is also absolutely critical to be discrete. People are taking you into their confidence and sharing intimate details of their life and how they are feeling with you.