Mental health support for police and emergency services

Australia’s 300,000-plus police, security and emergency services personnel will be supported through a range of new mental health initiatives.

The Morrison Government will provide almost $6 million to develop mental health services and support services.

The Police Federation of Australia will receive $2.5 million from the Department of Health to establish a ‘Blue Hub’ – a national centre of excellence – to develop a national framework for mental health care for emergency service first responders.

A further $3.3 million will be drawn from confiscated ‘proceeds of crime’ for several initiatives to boost services and educate and support emergency service workers around mental health issues.

The Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said it was fitting to reinvest ‘proceeds of crime’ back into supporting first responders to emergency situations.

Mr Dutton today launched a new organisation Fortem Australia. It has been formed by the co-founders of Soldier On John Bale and Dr Danielle Clout to do for law enforcement and emergency service workers what Soldier On has done for defence personnel.

Fortem will be a specialised, community-based organisation focussed on the health and wellbeing of frontline workers who deal with confronting situations in their daily work-life.

Initiatives proposed to be funded from ‘proceeds of crime’ are:

  • $1.88 million over two years to Fortem Australia to improve health and wellbeing of emergency service workers and meet the needs of individuals and families from early intervention to crisis support.
  • $750,000 over one year to the National Police Memorial Co to educate and build resilience in all law enforcement agencies in the areas of social, emotional and psychological health.
  • $648,996 over two years to the Australian Federal Police for development of new mental health policies and health standards.

“Police, fire and ambulance officers, paramedics and volunteers in organisations like the SES that have to deal firsthand with the accidents, crime and crisis incidents on a daily basis. It can take a toll,” Mr Dutton said.

“They are there 24/7 working to help and keep us as individuals and a community safe. We rely on them.

“We must do all we can to help them in their jobs, and importantly, to lead happy and healthy lives.”

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