25 September 2023

PTSD report a first for first responders

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The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has released Australia’s first ever report on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among the country’s emergency first-responders.

The report, When Helping Hurts: PTSD in First Responders, explores more effective ways of preventing the debilitating consequences of traumatic stress and improving mental health outcomes for those affected.

The report is the result of extensive research and high-level roundtable discussions over a year involving Federal, State and Territory police along with fire, ambulance and emergency services, Defence personnel, health care professionals, mental health support services, specialist academics and media first responders.

Acting Commissioner of the AFP, Leanne Close said the report was sponsored by the AFP, Victoria Police and Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services.

“The AFP has no greater asset than its people,” Acting Commissioner Close said.

“This report acknowledges the work our men and women do to help the community can harm and traumatise.

“It can impact their health, their wellbeing and the friends and family around them.”

She said that as leaders of impacted organisations where staff were subject to inherently dangerous and traumatic work, AFP management was committed to continuing to improve preventative measures and responses to mental health in its workforce.

“Many of the 31 recommendations and nine key priorities align with the work the AFP is already doing to improve the overall wellbeing of our members,” Acting Commissioner Close said.

Joint author of the report, former AFP Commissioner Mick Palmer said collaboration on the project was full, frank, open and courageous.

The 80-page report by Paul Barratt, Lyn Stephens and Mick Palmer can be accessed at the Australia 21 website at this PS News link.

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