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Latest on Member Assistance Program

By: Tanya Di Michele

Category: Health & Safety

  3.29 PM 8 November, 2013

Location: General

Views: 3102

By now you would have received information about CFA’s new Member Assistance Program (MAP).  If you have not yet received a Manage your mental health card with the new MAP contact details please contact Organisational Wellbeing on 9262 8836.

CFA’s member assistance program is a free and confidential service available to all members and their immediate families.  The MAP can be contacted on 1300 795 711 at any time 24 hours a day. Its main function is to provide short-term solution focussed counselling. 

As we enter the 2013/14 fire season it is important to remember that there may be times when you require support for you or your family.  The Member Assistance Program offers a number of benefits and a range of ways to help you manage challenging and/or difficult life circumstances.  

While the term counselling often lends itself to a vision of someone lying on a couch telling their therapist how they feel, CFA’s MAP services are solution-focussed and aimed at providing you with skills and strategies which can also assist you in dealing with future challenges in your life.

The Member Assistance Program provides access to accredited and qualified counsellors and psychologists right across the state.  They can provide assistance with:

  • Building problem solving skills
  • Promoting positive activities in your life
  • Managing anxiety, grief and loss
  • Promoting helpful thinking
  • Building and rebuilding healthy social connections
  • Strategies to promote improved relationships – this could include with your spouse, children etc.
  • Promoting work/life balance
  • Building coping skills

Remember that you don’t need to wait until things become unbearable before asking for help.  In fact, there are ways that you can better prepare yourself for difficult situations that you may face in the future before they happen.  This is particularly important as we enter another fire season.  You can do this by seeking assistance from CFA’s Member Assistance Program.  You should also consider the following prevention and preparation principles not only during your pre-season preparation but also on a day to day basis as a CFA member:

  • Minimise or eliminate exposure to potentially traumatic events* at all times.
  • Regularly engage with your local peer coordinator so that you are aware of the support services provided by CFA.
  • Brigade management teams need to regularly remind members about CFA’s services that support psychological health.
  • Advise new members about the range of incidents they could be exposed to.
  • Arrange mentoring for inexperienced members to guide them through exposure to potentially traumatic events*.
  • Members can mentally prepare for new or challenging situations by having discussions in advance.

In addition to the Member Assistance Program, CFA provides the following services to support members and their families:

  • Peer support can be accessed through the Rostered Duty Officer, Office in Charge, Line Manager or the Peer Coordinator
  • Chaplains can be contacted directly or by contacting Converge International on 1800 337 068

*What is a Potentially Traumatic Event? - Up to 65% of Australians can expect to be exposed to a trauma in their lifetime. Traumatic events threaten people's lives or safety, and include accidents, assaults, or natural disasters such as bushfires, floods and cyclones.

For those Australians who work or volunteer in high-risk roles such as fire-fighting and emergency services, the risk of being exposed to trauma is likely to be higher. These situations are different from the 'everyday' psychological challenges of being a CFA member or volunteer - this is about seeing and dealing with the most difficult, dangerous and distressing events.

Last Updated: 09 November 2013