Emergency Services Foundation
Victoria’s emergency management sector works as one to protect Victorian communities.
The Emergency Service Foundation (ESF) supports the emergency management sector to prevent the incidence and impact of mental injury for the 139,000 volunteers and paid staff who serve us.
While every employer has responsibility for looking after the safety and wellbeing of their people, ESF is the only organisation that is entirely dedicated to the prevention of mental health injury for Victoria’s emergency workers. We do this with the support of 14 member agencies.
Working at the frontline in emergencies can be traumatic. That’s why ESF needs to be at the frontline of mental health, to make sure we have the best possible strategies to help prevent people from our sector being harmed by the work they must do.
ESF seeks to get ahead of the mental harm and injury threat that currently pervades the sector – that’s why our focus in on prevention and early intervention.
To achieve this aim we lead initiatives that translate research into innovative evidence-informed practice and programs and work collaboratively with the agencies so people right across the sector benefit.
ESFs strategic and collaborative approach to addressing shared sector wide mental health challenges makes the sector better together.
We know it’s a job where people see and do things on a regular basis that can be very tough to deal with. And the impacts of the job can add up. Beyond Blue’s landmark 2018 national research into the mental health and wellbeing of police and emergency services, Answering the Call, reveals alarming facts. One in three employees in the sector experience high or very high psychological distress which is a much higher rate than the general adult population, and employees and volunteers report having suicidal thoughts at more than two times the rate of adults in the general population.
The research paints a picture of a workforce which is deeply impacted, both by the nature of the work that they do, and by the pressures of the environments in which they work. The facts compel action. They demand a collaborative, dedicated and sustained approach to strengthen our efforts, and better protect those who protect us.
In partnership with the sector ESF will
Identify and address work-related factors contributing to mental ill health
Drive research to build the evidence base for health promotion and response initiatives
Foster innovation and good practice through the sharing and translation of knowledge
Help to reduce stigma so that people get help early and have the best chance of recovery