NSW Fire and Rescue translates research into better mental health for workers
Published: 12 June, 2019
Fire and Rescue NSW is taking a leading role in protecting the mental health of its workforce with the rollout of RAW Mind Coach, an evidence-based e-learning program developed in collaboration with Black Dog Institute and UNSW Sydney.
Already employed in a recent trial of 143 firefighters, RAW Mind Coach was shown to increase psychological resilience, mindfulness, optimism, and healthy coping strategies.
This study forms part of ongoing research within Black Dog Institute’s Workplace Mental Health Research Program that looks at the mental health of Australia’s first responders.
Published last year in collaboration with UNSW Sydney, Phoenix Australia, and Black Dog Institute, the Expert Guidelines on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Emergency Services Workers highlighted the risk of mental illness facing first responders due to cumulative trauma exposure and organisational stress.
With the support of Black Dog Institute and RAW Mind Coach, Fire and Rescue NSW is now widely implementing the e-learning program as part of its concerted effort to protect and enhance the mental wellbeing of its workers.
“In developing our mental health strategy, we realised the importance of taking a proactive, preventative approach,” said Manager Health Promotion, Brendan Mott.
“We are proud to be able to translate research into real action and ensure our firefighters are equipped with the right skills and strategies.”
Psychologist, Sadhbh Joyce, conducted the research that informed the development of RAW Mind Coach as part of her PhD studies with the UNSW Workplace Mental Health Research Team and the Black Dog Institute.
“We wanted research to lead to real change, and that’s why it is fantastic Fire and Rescue NSW has stepped up and taken a leading role, championing a program that will deliver widespread benefits,” said Joyce.
Black Dog Institute Chief Psychiatrist and Head of the Workplace Mental Health Research Program, Associate Professor Samuel Harvey, has closely overseen the research and development of RAW Mind Coach.
“Our work with Fire and Rescue NSW presents a great example of what can be achieved through collaboration,” said Harvey.
“It is gratifying to see research translated into an evidence-based product, which will directly support those who play such a valuable role in our community.”
As well as supporting Fire and Rescue NSW, RAW Mind Coach is being used to enhance resilience among workers across a range of other high stress roles. In 2018 the program was rolled out across NSW Ambulance and to Reuters journalists worldwide.
Media enquiries: Jamie Watson, CEO RAW Mind Coach, 0401 822 616.
If you or someone you know is in crisis please call one of the following national helplines:
LIFELINE COUNSELLING SERVICE - 13 11 14
SUICIDE CALL BACK SERVICE 1300 659 467 (cost of a local call)