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What is the Retired and Former Employee (RAFE) Peer Support Program?
Ambulance Victoria is introducing a peer support program for retired and former employees on a pilot basis for 12 months. The RAFE Program, a collaboration with the Retired Ambulance association of Victoria (RAAV), is an extension of the existing Ambulance Victoria (AV) Peer Support program. As such, the program works closely with the AV Peer Support Coordinator and is currently staffed by three volunteers who are past AV employees.

Why has Ambulance Victoria developed a RAFE Peer Support Program?
AV is committed to improving the mental health of our people, even after they have left us. Whilst ambulance work is rewarding, it also comes with a range of unique challenges. We cannot accept that physical injury, psychological trauma and poor mental health are part of our job. Work place and/or personal stressors can affect anyone within our organisation – we provide assistance to our current employees and we would like to extend this support to beyond their time at AV.

What is the purpose of Peer Support?
AV’s Peer Support recognises that individuals can experience times of emotional distress, workplace or personal stress, and sometimes need the support of a peer.

Peers can provide early intervention by taking away the stigma of seeking help, and refer people on to other internal or external support processes.

The volunteer RAFE Peer Program is an extension of this support.

Who can access the RAFE Peer Support Program?
Any past employees of AV, including corporate staff and volunteers, can access this program, as well as their immediate family members. The volunteer RAFE Peer Support Program is available state wide.

From 24 May 2018, retired and former employees will have full access to Peer Support and referral to other services as required. Retired and former employees will have the ability to access this service via the AV website or the Retired Ambulance Association.

What training have the volunteer RAFE Peer Support Team completed for their roles?
The Psychology and Support Department (PSS) is providing training to the RAFE Peer Support volunteers, identical to the training of AV’s Peer Support staff it is important to note – Peer Support members are NOT counsellors and DO NOT make psychological assessments. They DO have great communication, listening and referral skills.

How can I contact the volunteer RAFE Peer Support Coordinator?
Email the volunteer RAFE Peer Support Coordinator at RAFEpeersupport@ambulance.vic.gov.au or the AV Peer Support Coordinator at Peer.Support@ambulance.vic.gov.au who can refer your query to the relevant person.

What are the hours of work for the volunteer RAFE Peer Support Coordinator?
The volunteer RAFE Peer Support Program is available between 9am – 5pm, seven days a week.

Access and support outside these hours is provided by AV’s Peer Support Program.

What can past employees do if they need to speak with a volunteer RAFE Peer Support member after hours?
For all ‘emergency’ situations call 000. If it is not an emergency but cannot wait until the next day (i.e. afterhours) – phone the on-call AV Peer Coordinator on 5243 32 60.

Can the volunteer RAFE Peer Support Coordinator visit past employees at home?
No. For safety purposes, the volunteer RAFE Peer Support members can only meet past employees in public places, if a face to face contact is warranted.

What AV services are available to AV’s retired and former employees?
The volunteer RAFE Peer Support Program provides a referral service for anyone seeking assistance.

Retired and former employees have access to the volunteer RAFE Peer Support members, and other services such as Chaplaincy, the 24 hour VACU counselling line and, if necessary, one VACU (AV’s contracted psychologists available across Victoria) appointment by prior agreement. Referral to these services will be considered in conjunction with other services readily available in the community.

I am approaching retirement, or will soon be leaving the organisation, and I am interested in being a volunteer RAFE Peer Support member – is this possible?
At this stage – there are three volunteer positions that have been filled. Please register your interest with the AV Peer Support Coordinator at Peer.Support@ambulance.vic.gov.au in case more positions become available or current positions are vacated.

Please contact the volunteer RAFE Peer Support Coordinator at RAFEpeersupport@ambulance.vic.gov.au should you have any other questions. We welcome feedback from former employees on their experience with the program.

If you are in crisis – please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636. If you or a friend are in urgent need of assistance, please dial 000.