Permanent funding for first responders’ mental health needed now

PSA

A vital mental health service for first responders must be given permanent funding and the NSW Government should step in if the Commonwealth won’t, says the Public Service Association and the Fire Brigade Employees Union.

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 June 30.

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.

“Post traumatic stress and mental trauma doesn’t stop once the flood dries and the fires are out,” said Stewart Little, general secretary of the PSA.

“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.”

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