Mental health of first responders addressed in seminar


Wednesday, 10 May, 2017


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One in five people are likely to experience a mental health condition throughout their lifetime, particularly first responders working in emergency services.

The Managing Mental Health Seminar was held in Sydney to support first responders, with the event drawing support from the NSW Mental Health Commissioner John Feneley.

“NSW’s first responder emergency services workers form the frontline of the community’s safety 24/7 and it is our responsibility to look after their mental health and wellbeing,” said Feneley.

The seminar, sponsored by icare and EML, was designed to provide first responders and other government employees with best practice, strategies and resources to help workers at the coalface.

EML CEO Mark Coyne said EML aims to help people get their lives back after injury.

“This seminar provides a fresh approach for managers to better manage mental health issues in the workforce. Attendees will hear first-hand from people living with mental health challenges and how it impacts on their work life,” Coyne said.

icare General Manager Health and Community Engagement Eugene McGarrell said, “icare’s number one priority is to ensure that first-responder workers suffering from mental illness receive early intervention and the best possible care available to help them recover and return to life safely.”

The seminar featured insightful talks by the following experts:

  • Professor Michael Sullivan — Canadian academic, psychologist and expert in neurology from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, on ‘Perceived Injustice’ and how it can contribute to a wide range of problematic outcomes following work-related injuries and how to better manage people who feel aggrieved. The seminar also covered issues of bullying, mental health stigma and incivility in the workplace, featuring practical tips employers can apply to develop resilience.
  • Todd Sampson — award-winning documentary-maker, advertising guru, adventurer and businessman spoke about the ‘neuroplasticity of the brain’ and how people can retrain their minds to overcome significant physical and mental challenges.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Syda Productions

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