Privately owned Criterion Conferences has announced a $50,000 response to the Australian bushfire crisis through attendance to mental health conferences to support organisations directly affected.
While there has been a widespread outpouring of support for bushfire victims and donations to assist the rebuilding of homes, infrastructure and future planning, the company identified that there has been little discussion of initiatives to support the mental health of first responders and emergency services.
“While infrastructure can be rebuilt, the mental health of first responders, emergency services and those on the ground working with victims takes much, much longer to rebuild,” said Cath Jules, Chief Executive Officer.
“Criterion produces many conferences focusing on mental health and well-being. With the mental health of those involved so severely impacted, we felt we were well placed to offer the leaders of these organisations the opportunity to attend and equip themselves with strategies to support their staff in the months and years to come.”
Criterion Conferences is extending guest passes to organisational leaders from first responding organisations, including emergency services, local government and service providers, to attend mental health strategy conferences running from February to May 2020, free of charge.
First responders are more than twice as likely to have a mental illness (10%) than the general population (4%). First responders are also more likely to suffer with depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses.
Criterion Conferences has a long history of providing guest passes and alternative avenues to professional education for smaller organisations and NFPs who otherwise may not have been able to attend.