Put your mental health first

Message from CEO/Chief Officer Steve Warrington AFSM

Mental health and wellbeing is a priority for CFA, and we have put our efforts behind ensuring our members and their families have support in this area. 


We have several events and days of support coming up, and it’s a timely reminder coming into the fire season to put our mental health first.

This Saturday around 600 other firefighters will be climbing the 28 floors of Crown Metropol in support of those living with depression, post traumatic stress injury (PTSI) and suicide. I’d like to see everyone supporting in any way they can, whether that’s donating, showing up on the day or sending a message of support, and you can still go online to donate.

I wish all those climbing the best of luck - it’s no mean feat with 25kg of turnout gear and breathing apparatus. You’re to be congratulated for taking up the task for the wellbeing of all those in emergency services and Defence communities.

Next Thursday (12 September), CFA will again take part in R U OK? Day around the state, which coincides with the one-year anniversary of the launch of our Wellbeing Support Line (1800 959 232).

R U OK? Day is a national day of action that recognises how important starting conversations with your colleagues, peers and family members are around mental health. It’s about recognising the signs and finding strategies to assist those around you, and yourselves.

Our Wellbeing Team at headquarters is running their own event on the day for the Burwood staff, however CFA are offering financial support and resources for any CFA team, brigade, office or station who would like to host their own event.

I would like to put an emphasis on checking in with one another regularly - and if you’re not sure how to ask, get some tips from the R U OK? Website, or speak to your CFA wellbeing representatives.

As an organisation, we have invested in our people’s wellbeing, and our Wellbeing Support Line has been so important for CFA members and their immediate families to have an accessible service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Wellbeing Support Line complements our other wellbeing programs, including the Member Assistance Program (MAP), Peer Support, and other health-related programs.

CFA members and their families can use all these services, and details can be found on the Intranet. We have adapted, we keep evolving and progressing in the wellbeing space as the needs of our members change.

Look after yourselves, look after the people around you, and I’d urge you to support everyone in the upcoming events, especially coming into the start of the fire season. Mental health and wellbeing should be at the forefront of everything we do.

CFA Wellbeing Support Line

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.

Details on how to get funding for an R U OK? Day event, email n.engelke@cfa.vic.gov.au, or read more here. 

Author: Steve Warrington