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 investigated the mental health and wellbeing of Australia’s emergency service staff and volunteers. Beyond Blue in collaboration with the CRC, surveyed 20,000 current and former personnel from 33 police and emergency organisations across Australia about their mental health and risk of suicide.

The final report, xxx, is available on the Beyond Blue website.

A Hazard Note, summarising the main findings, is also available.

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

Police and emergency service workers were 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 provides 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
2020 Journal Article Kyron, M. et al. Prevalence and predictors of suicidal thoughts and behaviours among Australian police and emergency services employees. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry (2020). doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/0004867420937774
2020 Journal Article Kyron, M., Rikkers, W., O'Brien, P., Bartlett, J. & Lawrence, D. Experiences of Police and Emergency Services Employees with Workers’ Compensation Claims for Mental Health Issues. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 1-10 (2020). doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10926-020-09909-8
2019 Conference Paper Thacker, G., Luke, R. & Court, E. Fit for Duty pilot: ensuring the safety of CFA members and increasing access to health services . Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Research Day AFAC19 (2019). at <https://knowledge.aidr.org.au/resources/australian-journal-of-emergency-management-monograph-series/>
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).
2018 Report Answering the call national survey, National Mental Health and Wellbeing Study of Police and Emergency Services – Final report. (Beyond Blue, 2018). at <https://www.beyondblue.org.au/about-us/about-our-work/workplace-mental-health/pes-program/national-mental-health-and-wellbeing-study-of-police-and-emergency-services>
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).
2017 Conference Paper Bartlett, J. National mental health and wellbeing study of police and emergency services. AFAC17 (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...