The Emergency Services Foundation (ESF) is a NFP peak body that is solely dedicated to Victoria’s emergency worker mental health injury prevention.
Compared to the general Australian population, the people who serve our community are at higher risk of mental health distress (Beyond Blue 2018; Australian Parliament 2019). Families too, and staff in support roles are at heightened risk as they are exposed vicariously through communication with emergency responders and affected communities. Indications are that this situation is getting worse, driven by a constantly increasing workload from more frequent and more intense cycles of response and recovery to disasters.
ESF collaborates with 14 key sector organisations to pioneer leading practice to address the challenge of helping people to flourish so the State’s emergency response capability is not at risk. Up to this point attention has been focused on the provision of services to treat mental illness and injury, with little focus on early intervention and prevention. ESF is addressing this gap through initiatives which integrate to provide a comprehensive prevention led ‘psychological immunisation’.