S68: Emergency Service Workers and Trauma: Encouraging early help seeking and facilitating stigma reduction utilizing an innovative lived experience program.

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By September 26, 2017 No Comments

Authors: Ross Beckley, Veronique Moseley, Simon Rosenbaum

Year: 2017

Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Reducing Stigma and Discrimination,Promotion, Prevention, Early Intervention,Advocacy,Change, Innovation, Reform,Suicide Prevention,Workforce

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: Emergency service workers are particularly vulnerable to experiencing poor mental health and suicide, often in response to occupational exposure to potentially traumatic experiences.
Despite increasing sector interest in the role of external organizations utilising lived experience to encourage help seeking and facilitate stigma reduction, to date no formal evaluation of such programs has been conducted. In 2016 The Black Dog Institute commenced an evaluation of Behind The Seen (BTS), a targeted, face-to-face training session, delivered at a crew level to both first responders and their families. Preliminary data obtained by focus groups, document analysis and utilising mobile technology demonstrate that the BTS session is highly acceptable to first-responders.
Novel aspects of the BTS session identified through the focus groups included the significance of the presenters lived experience and the focus on the family perspective. Ongoing quantitative and qualitative research will determine impact of the sessions which has implications for the provision of mental health services within emergency services.
This presentation will give an overview of how and why BTS started from the founders Ross Beckley and Veronique Moseley, followed by an update from Dr Simon Rosenbaum on the research, and the implications for mental health promotion among Australian emergency service workers.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: Gain current information about the latest research findings relevant to the impact of:
- inclusion of lived experience,
- focus on family as support and
- utilizing external peer led programs
for the promotion and prevention of mental health issues emergency service population (police, firefghters, paramedics and rescue personnel)

Learning Objective 2. Understand how community supports can assist with the reduction of stigma and increase in help seeking behaviours in the front line emergency service population.

Harvey, S., Devilly, G., Forbes, D., Glozier, N., McFarlane, A., Phillips, J.,
Bryant, R. (2015). Expert Guidelines: Diagnosis and Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder In Emergency Service Workers.
Hilbrink, D., Berle, D., & Steel, Z. (2016). Pathways to PTSD. In B. Douglas &
J. Wodak (Eds.), Addressing the Mental Health Consequences and Economic Impact of Trauma in Australia: Essays by Leading Australian Thinkers and Researchers. Weston, Australian Capital Territory: Australia 21 Ltd.

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