The Andrews Labor Government is supporting firefighters suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with a new pilot program for one-on-one support services.
Minister for Emergency Services Jane Garrett unveiled the plans for the program, which gives firefighters another option to seek help for PTSD. The program will also help to identify some of the barriers that may be preventing firefighters from using existing support services.
Firefighters are often first on scene at emergencies and can be exposed to horrific scenes including fatal fires, accidents and incidents.
The pilot, through the world-renowned Austin Health Psychological Trauma Recovery Service, will help to diagnose PTSD in affected firefighters and provide direct, confidential access to services to help in their recovery.
In line with the election commitment, the Government has invested $200,000 over two years for the program, which allows for approximately 60 participants in the pilot.
CFA or MFB members experiencing PTSD who take part in the trial will also have access to the health, wellbeing and workplace safety services already available through their agencies.
Firefighters will be assessed for PTSD through the Austin’s Psychological Trauma Recovery Service’s clinical intake process and, if appropriate, will have access to a treatment program of 12 one-on-one sessions, with the option to extend for a further six or twelve sessions based on client need.
Further information about the program and details on how firefighters can take part will be distributed to all firefighters through the relevant agencies. The program is due to start in the second half of the year.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services Jane Garrett
“This important pilot will give our firefighters additional support for PTSD while also helping us to understand the barriers to firefighters seeking treatment.”
“I encourage MFB and CFA firefighters experiencing trauma to consider participating in the pilot program, or use the existing support services provided by the agencies.”
“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious condition and we want make sure firefighters get the support they need.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020