TIME TO TALK: Managing personal crises in real estate

Trigger warning: The following article discusses particularly sensitive material such as mental illness, violence, self-harm, suicide and crime, which some audiences may find triggering or challenging. Readers are advised to continue at their own discretion.

A tenant isolated and mentally unwell. A client in a suicide crisis over the phone. Suspicion of domestic violence within a family. Signs of substance misuse and self-harm at a property.

It’s not a side of real estate often discussed, and yet these are only a handful of circumstances that many agents would admit to encountering and struggling with at some point – whether from opening a front door, meeting a client or simply picking up the phone.

Despite real estate being a person-based industry where agents walk into people’s homes and lives, personal crises like these are rarely the talk. And while they may only form a tiny fraction of an agent’s daily interactions, they’re usually the most impactful and harmful – and agencies simply aren’t equipped to effectively deal with them.

That all changed last week at Prudential Real Estate Campbelltown, when staff in our property management and leasing teams undertook training on how to recognise and best manage a health and safety crisis when confronted with one.

Run by local Crime Prevention Officer Andrew Thompson, the training provided an opportunity for staff to put forth real-life scenarios and to gain insights into dealing with stressful challenges, particularly those of compromised safety or an experience of threat. Equally vital was the discussion of working together with local authorities and frontline supports in ensuring that staff are aware of who to turn to in the community at a point of crisis.

Few agencies and businesses have received this kind of guidance, yet according to Crime Prevention Officer Andrew Thompson, it’s more important now than ever due to a rise in mental health-related issues and more people being at home off the back of Covid-19.

The session provided both a personal and professional learning curve for all staff involved, and has renewed Prudential’s commitment to work together with the local community. 

Prudential Real Estate would like to thank Constable Andrew Thompson and Campbelltown Police for offering their time and expertise.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a difficult situation, mental health, abuse or other form of crisis, below is a list of support services and crisis lines that may be helpful.

For immediate danger

Emergency – 000

Police station search

Police Assistance Line – 131 444

National crime report hotline

Crimestoppers Australia – 1300 000 333

For mental health support

Beyond Blue – 1300 22 46 36

Lifeline – 131 114

Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800

NSW Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511

Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467

Youth Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636

For Aboriginal communities and Indigenous support

National Indigenous Critical Response Service – 1800 805 801

For more information, please visit NSW mental health services and support contact list.