Victoria to trial new national mental health initiative
The important and dangerous work you do now can have consequences on your mental health both immediately and long into the future.
Only relatively recently have we seen an important cultural shift in the way we acknowledge and endeavour to prevent and treat mental health conditions suffered by police as a result of the challenging work you, our members, do.
In recent weeks the federal government has shown that it too is taking the mental health of you and your colleagues in other emergency services seriously, by announcing a $2.5 million grant to develop a national framework for ongoing mental health care of police and defence employees.
The ‘BlueHub’ will offer services for employees of all police services across the nation, including the Australian Federal Police and other emergency service workers.
The funding will be provided to our national body, The Police Federation of Australia, which brings together members of the eight state, territory and federal police associations and unions across the country.
We’re delighted that the ‘Bluehub’ trial will take place right here in Victoria which means that our members will be the first to benefit.
The PFA will oversee a project team with representatives from your Association (TPAV) and the AFP to develop the ‘BlueHub’ proposal.
The commissioning of the grant follows a recent national survey from Beyond Blue which found that police and emergency services workers had very high rates of psychological distress and probable PTSD compared to the wider population.
This accords with other studies which have found that both serving and former police and emergency services personnel suffer from high levels of PTSD and other mental ill-health.
This will come as little surprise to you. Many of you will know a colleague who is or has struggled mentally with the rigours of the job. Sadly, some of you will know of a colleague who has taken their own life.
Under the ‘BlueHub’ plan, the grant would fund the establishment of a centre of excellence to be complemented by satellite support services provided and funded by each state and territory.
This will create a national framework to provide the right, evidence-based services to the people who protect and serve our community in the stressful and dangerous situations.
It will encourage eligible people to seek help and ensure that current gaps in service are corrected so that everyone who needs help receives appropriate care, when they need it.
It’s another important step in treating mental health conditions of our members when they arise, before it’s too late.