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Supporting our families

AV Family Safe Space is designed to help our families feel supported and have easy access to a range of support services when they need them.

This website has been created by Ambulance Victoria families in partnership with its Wellbeing and Support Services specialists.

We know that the work AV employees and volunteers do can have a significant impact on their families at home.

AV Family Safe Space is all about providing you, and through you, your AV family member, with helpful evidence-based resources and support so that you can access the support you need, and also the support your family member (AV employee or volunteer) or dependent may require. The aim of this site is also to provide information about the stressors that can be faced on the job, whether for corporate or operational staff members.

Current mental health of our workforce

Psychological Survey 2021

AV is committed to better understanding and improving the mental health and wellbeing of our people. As an important step in this process, we invited all AV staff and first responders to complete our Psychosocial Wellbeing Survey (PSS) in 2021. This was the third time we have completed this since 2016.

This anonymous survey was conducted in partnership with AV by Phoenix Australia – Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health. Phoenix Australia are an independent, not-for-profit organisation affiliated with University of Melbourne, and are quickly become experts in first responder mental health.

In the two years since the last PSS (2019), we know things have not been easy for many and we have seen rates of depression, anxiety and stress, PTSD, suicidal thinking and problematic anger increase compared with the 2019 survey results. Intimate partner violence was assessed specifically in the PSS 2021 and the results from our respondents will lead to a focus on awareness, support, education and prevention strategies and pathways for our people. 

We will seek to manage, and continue to advocate for broader understanding of the top sources of distress identified through the survey: workload, COVID related changes to PPE, CPG’s and working conditions (i.e working from home) and organisational and welfare conditions. Some of these areas are broader than the scope of Wellbeing & Support Services, however, we will ensure the voices of those who completed the survey are represented in relation to the impact of these factors on the wellbeing of AV employees, first responders and our families.

What are we doing about it?

Identified areas of focus:

  • Depression, anxiety and stress symptoms
  • Suicidal ideation, awareness and prevention
  • Intimate Partner Violence

These areas of focus allowed us to have your voices and concerns recognised as we built our 2022 -2025 Mental Health and Wellbeing Action Plan (MHWAP), which launched in September 2022.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Action Plan initiatives:

  • Increasing access to Wellbeing & Support Services
    • Reducing barriers
    • Ensuring quality support
  • Project Initiatives
    • Skills fOr Life Adjustment and Resilience (SOLAR)
    • Solar is an online self-help program from Phoenix Australia that upskills staff to work through their psychological distress and prevent the development of more serious mental health conditions. Click here for more information on SOLAR.
  • Suicide Intervention, Response and Engagement Network (SIREN)
  • Education and training for frontline personnel, leadership teams, and family members with a focus on reducing stigma, improving skills in supporting individuals at risk of suicide, and overall reducing suicide rates amongst ambulance employees and first responders.
  • Intimate Partner Violence project