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​ The Fire & Emergency Services Support Network is the Queensland Fire & Emergency Service’s counselling and support program designed specifically for staff, volunteers and their immediate family. Immediate family includes spouse/de facto and dependent children.

The Fire & Emergency Services Support Network’s goal is to promote well-being by helping Staff, Volunteers and their immediate family deal with work-related and/or personal problems and to provide guidance to staff and volunteers in ways that may assist them to make the most of their working life.

Why have a Fire & Emergency Services Support Network?

The Work Outcomes Research and Cost-Benefits (WORC) study that is being conducted by Professor Harvey Whiteford and colleagues from the University of Queensland has worked with over 60 Australian public and private sector organisations and obtained data from over 92,000 employees.

We now have high quality data on the incidence and trajectory of working Australians suffering from clinical depression and other mental health problems, as well as their response to early intervention treatment and the subsequent impact on work performance.

Initial WORC research shows that 6.7 percent of Australian employees in any organisation suffer from clinical level depression each year, and that their attendance and job performance significantly deteriorates.  

More importantly, 65 percent of these individuals have NOT sought any treatment in the previous 12 months and seem to ‘bunker in' as a way of coping (Whiteford, Sheridan, Cleary & Hilton, 2005). This approach to coping often increases the risk that these individuals will become entangled in complicated performance management processes and conflicts.  This events often cause great distress for all concerned and the impact extends beyond the workplace.

The WORC study has demonstrated the substantive return on investment (in hard dollar terms) achieved by organisations engaging in proactive well-being initiatives and encouraging high risk individuals to access evidence-based mental health treatments.  The evidence also suggests that this is a viable early intervention strategy for reducing the number of employees who experience mental health problems from progressing into the workers compensation arena. 

Of course, you don’t have to feel bad to want to feel better.  The expertise of psychologists is often used, across many domains in sports and organisational settings, to enhance performance.  To that end the Fire & Emergency Services Support Network is also available to those members and teams who are looking to improve their work capacity.

Whiteford, H.A., Sheridan. J., Cleary, C.M., & Hilton, M.F. (2005).The work outcomes research cost-benefit (WORC) project: the return on investment for facilitating help seeking behaviour. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 39 (Suppl.2), A37.

What does the Fire & Emergency Services Support Network provide?

  • Peer Support Program – a team of specially selected and trained co-workers to help staff cope with personal and/or work-related difficulties.  We have two peer support programs that focus their attention on the unique needs of their mates.
    • FireCare PSOs support Firefighters
    • SES PSOs support SES members
  • Confidential Professional Counselling – an independent service available to staff and volunteers at every level
  • 24 Hour Telephone Crisis Counselling – Free Call 1800 805 980 – This service is pager operated and a Fire & Emergency Services Support Network Counsellor will return calls as soon as possible
  • Critical Incident Response & Management (CIRM) – Support for staff before, during and following an confronting incidents, activations and deployments
  • Training – information and seminars on issues such as positive coping, improving psychological flexibility, regulating conflict and Critical Incident Response & Management
  • Consultation with Management – leadership coaching and facilitation in the areas well-being promotion and performance improvement

Peer Support Officers and workplaces in each region have a List of Peer Support Officers and List of Fire & Emergency Services Support Network  Counsellors throughout Queensland.

For more information about Fire & Emergency Services Support Network, see Frequently Asked Questions