Australia’s emergency workers are set to receive additional mental health support through the establishment of the National Emergency Workers Support Service, NEWSS.
Emergency service workers will be able to access an online mental health self-assessment and triage services including access to up to 12 free sessions with a clinical psychologist either face to face or via telehealth.
$4 million will be provided to the Black Dog Institute to establish and develop the NEWSS and will serve as an expansion of the National Bushfire Support Service, extended to all emergency service workers who respond to disasters including bushfires and floods.
Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell said the service will be delivered as part of a broader government response to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australians after disasters.
“We know that responding to relentless natural disasters, along with the pandemic, has no doubt put strain on our emergency service workers,” he said.
“Australians are so grateful for their tireless efforts, which have kept communities safe in times of need, and it’s only right that we ensure they are supported too.”
The service will make it easier for workers to search for, navigate and determine their eligibility for support and appropriate resources.
It will also provide specialist mental health training to general practitioners and other healthcare professionals to help provide appropriate support and referral options to emergency service workers.