To support this preparation, I remind you to make the mental health and wellbeing of our people a high priority.
We are in the middle of Mental Health Week 2019 and this year’s theme is ‘It’s Time to Talk’. This week aims to activate, educate and engage Victorians around mental health and related issues, and start the conversation.
One in five Victorians are affected by mental illness each year and one in two will be affected in their lifetime – however many don’t seek help due to the stigma or are in fear of discrimination.
Whilst CFA has being advocating in this space for quite some time and has support services available, which are outlined below, we still need to start a conversation, and realise that mental health affects us all in some way.
Mental health awareness events remind us that we need to make a conscious effort to talk about our mental health and wellbeing, and to develop our understanding. It reminds us to talk those around us, both inside and outside our organisation.
Our aim is to ensure that mental health and the wellbeing of our colleagues and communities is placed in a positive light, and that we keep open communication channels with those around us.
We have the Member Assistance Program and a variety of other targeted programs to ensure that everyone has access to speak with someone at all times and in their own way.
For those people in our organisation, and their families, who would like to seek more advice or have someone additional to talk to, the Wellbeing Support Line (1800 959 232) is always available.
The demand on our people in the summer is enormous, in both operational and non-operational roles, and it’s important that we’re taking care of ourselves and the people around us.
Mental health can put a strain on our physical health, causing fatigue and a decrease in concentration. It’s important we are getting enough rest and taking time out to recover throughout the season, particularly in hot and busy periods.
I hope you all put health and wellbeing in the forefront of your mind this season. Speak to those around you and know where to go when you or someone you know needs help – because It’s Time to Talk.
If you are not okay, or if you notice a change in someone you know, contact the CFA Wellbeing Support Line on 1800 959 232 to access free, confidential support that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Wellbeing services are available to all CFA volunteers, employees and their immediate family members.
The support services include the Member Assistance Program with Psychologists and Counsellors, Traditional and Career Firefighter Peer Support Programs, Chaplaincy Program, Bullying and Harassment Hotline, Let Me Know web-based app, Centres Against Sexual Assault as well as other services provided by the Wellbeing Team.
To view the complete range of services, visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au/wellbeing.
To find out about Mental Health Week events, Mental Health Australia website has a plethora of information at 1010.org.au, or for resources and further information, head to the Better Health website here.