Thursday 30 March 2023
The National Emergency Worker Support Service has been launched by Black Dog Institute. It offers emergency service workers and volunteers free, confidential and trauma-informed mental health support across all of Australia.
The service is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and is open to those who are active in their roles or those who have retired from emergency services.
“The government is investing with the Black Dog Institute to expand this program so every emergency service worker who’s responded to a national disaster, whether it’s a bushfire, or a flood, or the COVID-19 pandemic, can get the support and help that they need.”– Assistant Health Minister, Emma McBride
Emergency workers respond to stress and trauma in different ways and the new national service offers multiple ways to seek support. It includes access to an online mental health check that links people to appropriate support, including 12 free sessions with trauma-informed clinical psychologists either face to face or via telehealth.
In addition to the sessions with a clinician, there is support for those who prefer to guide their own treatment with a range of tailored digital resources and evidence-based tools.
The support service originally focused on PTSD support for those impacted by bush fires and other natural disasters, and it has now been expanded to a wider cohort. Of those who came through Black Dog Institute’s leading clinic for treating people with severe PTSD, 80% have made a full and lasting recovery.
“We need to be able to recruit, retain and support our emergency service workers. The results that I’ve seen from Black Dog so far are really promising. They’ve seen that with the right intervention at the right time, that emergency responders who are experiencing PTSD can now fully recover and will be able to return to the workforce and be able to continue their lives.” – Assistant Health Minister, Emma McBride
The National Emergency Worker Support Service also includes professional development and the latest evidence-based mental health training for GPs and Health Professionals. This can help provide local support for first responders and ensure streamlined referral to specialist mental health care.