Unions call for funding for first responders' mental health

Tuesday, 22 March, 2022

Unions call for funding for first responders' mental health

The Public Service Association and the Fire Brigade Employees Union has called for the NSW Government to provide funding for a vital mental health service for first responders. Funding for the Black Dog Institute’s Traumatic Stress Clinic hasn’t been renewed, meaning the vital mental health support for first responders to bushfires, floods and other natural disasters will end on 30 June 2022. The unions, which have members working across emergency services including Fire and Rescue NSW, RFS, SES, Police and 000 call operators, say the funding must be secured, either by the Commonwealth or the state.

Stewart Little, General Secretary of the PSA, noted that post-traumatic stress and mental trauma don’t stop once the flood dries and the fires are out. “If the Commonwealth won’t fund the Black Dog Institute’s Traumatic Stress Clinic for first responders then the Premier needs to step in and do it. First responders are ordinary women and men who do extraordinary things,” said Leighton Drury, secretary of the FBEU. They’re there for us in our hour of need; we shouldn’t abandon them. We should be investing in their mental health and resilience,” Little said.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/loreanto

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