The nature of emergency service work exposes first responders to increased levels of trauma, in addition to everyday personal and occupational stressors. However mental health stigma continues to prevent many from seeking help when they need it. The recent investigation into the mental health support available to Victoria Police indicated huge gaps in accessibility and internal engagement for mental health.
Because exposure to trauma is inevitable, it is crucial for emergency services leadership and management to take real action and develop a holistic strategy to address the mental health needs of employees.
How can policies, programs and practice be strengthened to tackle this issue?
Learn practical strategies to:
- Tackle stigma and lead cultural change
- Improve internal support structures according to best practice
- Build resiliency and drive help seeking behaviour for first responders
- Train management to implement prevention and early intervention initiatives
- Use digital technology to enhance mental health strategy
- Address differences for career and volunteer first responders
First responder agencies including Police, Fire & Rescue, State Emergency Services, Ambulance Service and Defence.
Senior executives and commissioners responsible for:
- People and culture
- Strategic performance
- Human resources
Operational management responsible for:
- Mental health
- Peer Support
- Health and wellbeing
- Critical incident response
- Employee assistance (EAPs)
- Psychological services
- Occupational health and safety
Attend to learn:
Implement & evaluate mental health strategy
Take a preventative approach to mental health
Address the complex psychological needs of first responders
Build leadership & staff capability
Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton AM [Vic] commenced his appointment on 1 July 2015 after serving in a number of Victoria Police executive positions.
CCP Ashton began his career with the AFP, reaching the rank of Deputy Commissioner. He was appointed as the law enforcement liaison officer at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, and was the operational commander of the successful Australian Law Enforcement response to the Bali bombings, known as Operation Alliance, for which he received the Order of Australia.
Some of Graham’s particular achievements include reforms to the management of child sexual abuse investigations, a crackdown on crime associated with outlaw motorcycle gangs and the commissioning of an independent review of mental health issues in Victoria Police. Following on from the review, Graham is currently overseeing a new Mental Health Strategy to implement all the recommendations from the independent review into Mental Health.
Fire & Rescue NSW
Alison is the Director Work Health & Safety with Fire & Rescue NSW. Following a career in the private sector, Alison established the physical and psychological health promotion unit within Fire & Rescue, but has since moved into the Director role. In this, she leads a team of over 40 professionals across the areas of injury management, medical services, safety and health promotion. The objective of Alison’s team is to develop and implement programs to ensure the Firefighters of NSW are operating in the safest of environments, while optimising their own health and wellbeing.
Head of the Workplace Mental Health Program, The Black Dog Institute
A/Prof Samuel Harvey, MBBS MRCGP MRCPsych FRANZCP PhD, is the Head of the Workplace Mental Health Research Program at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and a Research Fellow at the Black Dog Institute (BDI). He is a psychiatrist and a researcher, with an international reputation for his work on the relationship between work and mental health.
A/Prof Harvey leads a program of research at UNSW/BDI focused on the mental health of workers. His research seeks to examine how workplace interventions, including new mobile and online technologies, can be used to enhance the mental health and wellbeing of workers. Much of A/Prof Harvey’s research is based on ‘real life’ work situations and he has established close working links with a number of large employers in Australia and the UK.
Over the last five years, A/Prof Harvey has successfully obtained over six million dollars in grant funding and published more than 70 research publications, which have been cited over 1400 times. He was recently awarded the Mental Health Association’s 2014 Mental Health Matters Award for Research and Evaluation.
In addition to his research activities, A/Prof Harvey works as a consultant psychiatrist at St George Hospital and is the Convenor of Psychiatry Teaching for all medical students at UNSW.
South Australia Ambulance Service
Jason Killens commenced in the position of Chief Executive Officer with SA Ambulance Service (SAAS) in October 2015.
SAAS’s committed team of career and volunteer staff supports South Australians by providing emergency, non-emergency, rescue ambulance services and support services across the state.
SAAS is the principal provider of ambulance services in South Australia comprising:
- out-of-hospital emergency medical care and transport
- a non-emergency ambulance transport service
- emergency and major events management
- rescue services in collaboration with other emergency services – e.g. water rescue, cliff rescue, confined space rescue
- SAAS MedSTAR Emergency Medical Retrieval
Prior to joining SAAS, Jason’s most recent position was as Executive Director of Operations, London Ambulance Service, National Health Trust, responsible for nearly 4000 staff through a directorate management structure of over 150 management posts.
With the London Ambulance Service Jason had over 10 years senior operational leadership experience with operational delivery, performance improvement, system design and a cross section of strategic organisational portfolio responsibilities.
Jason is widely experienced in the delivery of large complex projects across multiple services. Jason is committed to ensuring ongoing improvement to the patient experience in South Australia.
Black Dog Institute
Black Dog Institute is a global pioneer in the identification, prevention and treatment of mental illness and the promotion of well-being.
We’re dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by mental illness through rapid translation of scientific evidence into improved clinical management and sustainable public health solutions.
We work with clinics, communities, schools and workplaces across Australia as well as improving access through delivery of effective online programs.
Our unique approach combines medicine with research, education and the voice of lived experience to reduce the incidence of mental illness and suicide, remove stigma and improve lives.
Police Health is Australia’s only private health insurer run exclusively for the police by the police.
Founded by police in 1935 in South Australia who saw the need to make sure police looked after police, when it came to their health and their families’ health, Police Health’s head office is still based here in Adelaide.
This single minded focus as a not-for- profit health fund means that we can provide top quality cover and great value for money, resulting in high levels of loyalty from our members.
In fact, Police Health is achieving better than the industry average market growth.
Operating nationally, Police Health covers police jurisdictions across all states and territories in Australia and with a proud history going back 80 years, the children and grandchildren of police officers are now choosing Police Health for their private health insurance.
To check if you’re eligible to join visit policehealth.com.au.
Emergency Services Health
Emergency Services Health is a new, not-for-profit private health insurer that is designed exclusively to enhance the physical and mental health and wellbeing of Australia’s emergency services community. It’s backed by Police Health, extending the quality cover previously police officers and their families could access to our colleagues in the emergency services.
For over 80 years now, Police Health has been proud to stand behind the police community, supporting their health and wellbeing. We know what it takes to support people across emergency services. So it’s not surprising that workers and volunteers in emergency services have asked us for the same straightforward and comprehensive cover that police and their families enjoy.
Emergency Services Health is available to all emergency service jurisdictions and sectors across all states and territories in Australia. To check if you’re eligible to join visit eshealth.com.au.
PeopleSense is a privately run, Australian owned and operated psychological services firm which was first established in 2004. Darrin Brandis and Anya Stephens (Managing Directors), set up the business with a view to provide the very best psychological services to organisations and their employees. Darrin and Anya’s focus in the early years was to establish an organisation that lived by five (5) key values including quality, professionalism, accountability, teamwork and respect. Since inception and with a strong focus on delivering quality services, PeopleSense has grown quite organically into a medium sized enterprise, currently employing approximately 80 professionals spread across the nation with psychologists based in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane.
There are three (3) main areas of the PeopleSense business including clinical psychology services, organisational development, and injury management/injury prevention services. PeopleSense Directors are extremely passionate about psychological services and the positive impact the profession of psychology can have on both individuals and organisations. In recent years, PeopleSense has developed an excellent reputation for delivering robust, evidence based psychological servives for first responders. We have a growing team of clinically trained psychologists who have specilialist skills in the management of acute and post traumatic stress within the emergency service industry.
What People Are Saying
“The networking was of great importance in this time of change and risk for organisations providing services for people with serious mental illness.”President, MIFA (NT)
“Mental Health and programs will continue to evolve based on funding and the changing market. It is with conferences like this that help transform minds and business strategy to consider how to work and provide outcomes in Mental Health.”Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Manager, Darling Downs West Moreton PHN
Endorsers & Media Partners
Phoenix Australia promotes recovery for the 15 million Australians affected by trauma. We do this by working with individuals, organisations and the community to understand, prevent, and recover from the potential adverse effects of trauma. Our breadth of offering includes research, policy and service development, and education and training.
Our internationally recognised research program advances the scientific knowledge and understanding of trauma.
Our policy and service development work builds the capacity of organisations to understand, prevent and promote recovery from trauma.
We provide education and training in effective treatments for providers and organisations who work with people affected by trauma.
HealthcareLink.com.au is the online marketplace for jobs and careers in the healthcare and medical industry.
HealthcareLink provides a unique online recruitment and hiring management platform open to medical, dental and allied health practices, hospitals, aged care facilities and healthcare businesses of all sizes so that employers can find the right healthcare professionals and jobseekers find the right job easily.
HealthcareLink has over 17,000+ healthcare professionals and 4,000+ healthcare employers / CPD providers using their online platform.