Police officers, firefighters, ambulance officers and SES volunteers have come together to share their stories about mental health and the unique challenges of working on the frontline during a launch for ‘Are They Triple OK?’
Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott today joined representatives from these agencies to launch the campaign at Fire and Rescue NSW’s station at The Rocks. The campaign aims to increase peer and social support for emergency services workers across NSW to highlight that an R U OK? conversation can be life changing.
“Our first responders go out there on the frontline every day, putting community safety above their own, and they deserve the respect and support of each and every person they are sworn to protect,” Mr Elliott said.
“Police and emergency services workers give so much of themselves in the line of duty, and it’s our job to ensure they have the best possible tools and support to look out for each other.”
Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said it was vital the community understands the challenges faced by our police, firefighters, ambulance offices and other emergency services.
“My message to first responders struggling with the pressures of work is this: we thank you and we are here for you,” Mrs Taylor said.
R U OK? CEO Katherine Newton said the organisation was extremely grateful to the emergency services personnel who have shared their stories.
NSW Police Senior Constable Tracy Bloomfield and Fire and Rescue NSW firefighter Max Cottingham are two of five NSW first responders featured in the campaign.
“It’s hard sometimes to tell your family, who aren’t in the services, how you struggle. They just don’t realise the repercussions and the dreams, all the ongoing things that can happen even after an incident,” Ms Bloomfield said.
Mr Cottingham said he wanted the campaign to empower colleagues and family members to take that step and ask the question.
“You don’t have to be an expert to ask, ‘Are you OK?’ We’re always there to help. Let’s make sure we help each other and ask ‘R U OK?’,” Mr Cottingham said.
R U OK? will provide free resources to foster a supportive work culture and address high rates of self-stigma identified within the services.
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