News from the CRC
Study will reduce mental health risks, says former PM
A ground-breaking CRC-linked project on the mental health of emergency service workers was highlighted by the former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, now chairperson of beyondblue at the 2018 Emergency Management Conference in Melbourne in July.
With a funding contribution from the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, beyondblue has undertaken a world-first survey of the mental health and wellbeing of police and emergency service personnel across the country.
Thirty-three police, fire, ambulance and SES agencies participated. And nearly 21,000 individuals took part in the study.
“Nothing so ambitious has been attempted before and this research will be quoted and referenced and used by mental health organisations, emergency service agencies and researchers across the globe for years to come,” said Ms Gillard.
“This level of participation tells us that this topic is hugely important to those working in the field. What greater evidence could there be that people in your industry want to talk about their mental health … and want their leaders to listen to what they have to say … than this massive participation rate?
“The survey results will arm us with unprecedented national data, which we will analyse and use – in partnership with the sector – to further develop the strategies and actions to reduce the mental health risks of first responders.”
The research will be complete and its findings released publicly at the end of the year.
Ms Gillard challenged the emergency service managers at the conference to use the research to support mental health strategies in their workplace.
“Use the beyondblue resources available today to deliver change. And when it is available, be open to the findings of the research, and to dedicating the time and resources necessary to understand what the findings mean for your organisation, and how to translate these findings into additional meaningful action. Even if your organisation is not one of those involved in the research, the findings will still have relevance.”
The two-day EMC conference attracted more than 350 people, with the CRC kept busy hosting a booth in the exhibition hall.