Research leader

Prof David Lawrence Research Leader

Research team

Jennifer Bartlett Research Team
Wavne Rikkers Research Team
Gerry Bardsley Research Team
Bruce Packard Research Team

End User representatives

Heather Stuart
Heather Stuart End-User
Pat Jones End-User

For the first time, a nationwide research project will investigate the mental health and wellbeing of Australia’s emergency service staff and volunteers. This new project, led by beyondblue in collaboration with the CRC, will invite up to 20,000 current and former personnel from 35 police and emergency organisations across Australia to participate in a survey about their mental health and risk of suicide.

It is the first time data is being collected on a national scale from police and emergency service organisations. The research is being conducted in three phases after qualitative analysis was gathered by beyondblue in phase one during 2016.

Police and emergency service workers will be surveyed about their wellbeing; common mental health conditions; suicide risk; stigma; help-seeking behaviour; and factors supporting, or jeopardising, mental health in the workplace.

This project will provide important information to understand both the number of people affected and the range of issues they face.

Initial findings from phase one suggest:

  • the nature of the stigma associated with mental health conditions differs across police, fire and rescue and ambulance services;
  • although exposure to trauma is seen as an underlying cause for post-traumatic stress disorder, workplace culture and practices also contribute to the prevalence of mental health conditions;
  • working in police and emergency services, particularly for volunteers, can support workers’ mental health.

Evidence-based strategies will be developed to individuals, improve organisational culture and address systemic concerns that impact on mental health and wellbeing across the sector nationally. They will be developed in collaboration with a cross-section of the police and emergency services sector including agencies, unions, government departments, individuals and family and community groups around Australia.

Year Type Citation
2018 Conference Paper Lawrence, D., Rikkers, W. & Bartlett, J. Mental health and wellbeing in the police and emergency services sector. AFAC18 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2018).
2018 Conference Paper Bates, J. Research proceedings from the 2018 Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC Conference. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC annual conference 2017 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2018).
2017 Conference Paper Bartlett, J. National mental health and wellbeing study of police and emergency services. AFAC17 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2017 Conference Paper Rumsewicz, M. Research proceedings from the 2017 Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC Conference. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC annual conference 2017 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
beyondblue’s National Mental Health and Wellbeing Study of Police and Emergency Services Phase 2 Update
18 Sep 2018
beyondblue is undertaking the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Study of Police and Emergency Services to...