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Mental health first for paramedics

October 10, 2016 | in News

The families of Victorian paramedics have helped shape the first comprehensive mental health strategy for an Australian ambulance service.

Husbands, wives and parents of paramedics have generously shared their experiences and insights into the mental health and wellbeing of their loved ones in a video which will be shared with all Ambulance Victoria staff.

Ambulance Victoria Chair Ken Lay and CEO Tony Walker were among those to take a ‘mental health pledge’ to launch the AV Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2016-2019 on Monday 10 October 2016 – World Mental Health Day.

Mental health strategy

Associate Professor Walker said the roadmap for improving mental health and wellbeing had been developed through extensive research and in consultation with paramedics and other Ambulance Victoria staff, family members, the Ambulance Employees Association Victoria and stakeholders including beyondblue.

‘We’re proud to be the first ambulance service in Australia to deliver a strategy in this form to create a mentally healthy workplace,’ Assoc. Prof Walker said.

‘We are committed to providing a workplace that fosters the mental and physical health of our people to keep them fit and well for work, and life.

‘As one of our senior paramedics simply put it, if we don’t care for ourselves, we can’t care for others.’

The strategy focuses on four key strategic objectives:

  1. Understand the mental health and wellbeing needs of our people.
  2. Promote mental health at all levels of AV.
  3. Deliver comprehensive mental health interventions and training throughout the employee life cycle.
  4. Strengthen our mental health and wellbeing partnerships.

‘All Ambulance Victoria staff and volunteers will be trained in mental health awareness by June 2017 as part of a unique partnership with beyondblue,’ Assoc. Prof Walker said.

‘We all have a role to play in creating a mentally healthy workplace and I look forward to working with everyone at Ambulance Victoria make this a reality.

‘We owe it to ourselves, our families and colleagues, and the community we serve.’

Ambulance Victoria Mental Health Strategy 2016-19