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Mental health a high priority in District 18
Volunteers from Nyah Nyah West, Beverford and District, Swan Hill and Woorinen South fire brigades joined with CFA staff and community members to raise awareness for mental health issues by leading a walk around the CBD recently.
The event was held as part of Mental Health Week 2016 and culminated in a free barbeque with guest speakers at the Swan Hill Town Hall. Staff from local health organizations such as Mallee Family Care and headspace were on hand with resources and information for the public. Beverford and District volunteer Nancy King said she was proud to be a part of the walk.
"I've suffered depression myself in the past," she said. "I think the walk is a wonderfl thing to get behind and I don't mind if people know about my own battle because there is nothing to feel embarrased about."
Research by Volunteering Australia tells us that the experience of helping others provides meaning, a sense of self-worth, a social role and health enhancement, and that sustained volunteering is associated with better mental health. District 18 Operations Manager John Bigham said CFA is committed to the good mental health of its members and strives to be an inclusive and diverse organisation that is representative of the community it protects.
"We are very pleased to have partnered with local health providers such as Mallee Family Care, Mallee Sports Assembly and Anglicare, among many others, to support and promote Mental Health Week," said Mr Bigham.
Nyah Nyah West captain Miriam King said it was a good chance to look at our own mental health.
"We are often quick to assess our physical health but not always our mental health," she said. "People who work in emergency services are still human. They see some hard things in extraordinary situations and it can affect them. It's okay to ask for help."
CFA has a range of support services and resources to help members maintain good mental health and deal with difficulties when they arise. These services are free, confidential and available to all CFA members and their families for any mental health or relationship issue - it doesn't have to relate to CFA.
For broader wellbeing support services they are available as follows:
• Member Assistance Program (MAP): 1300 795 711 (24 hours)
• Peer Support Program: Contact your local peer coordinator
• Chaplaincy Program: 1800 337 068 (24 hours)
• HeadsUP online resources: cfa.vic.gov.au/headsup