National Mental Health and Wellbeing Study of Police and Emergency Services

The results from Beyond Blue’s landmark national survey Answering the call, conducted as part of the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Study of Police and Emergency Services are now available. Scroll down to download the research reports. 

Beyond Blue is undertaking the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Study of Police and Emergency Services to build a comprehensive picture of the mental health and wellbeing of police and emergency services personnel in Australia. The study is funded by Beyond Blue’s core Commonwealth funding, with additional funding support from the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre. 

There is nothing more important than the mental health and wellbeing of the people who serve and protect our communities every day. This is a landmark piece of research Beyond Blue is undertaking, and I am delighted that almost every police and emergency services agency in Australia is participating. The information we generate will enable us to improve and strengthen our approach to protecting those who protect us, to make a real difference to people’s lives.

– Ken Lay AO APM, Chair of the Advisory Group of the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Study of Police and Emergency Services 

A three-phase research study

There are three key phases in the research study:

  • Phase 1 was a qualitative project gathering the personal mental health experiences of 25 current and 10 former employees of police and emergency services, and of 12 of their partners and family members. Key themes about the range of mental health experiences and the risk and protective factors faced by participants emerged from this study. The findings of Phase 1 heavily informed the development of the survey tool for Phase 2.This phase was undertaken by Whereto Research and completed in November 2016.

  • Phase 2 involves the first nationally representative survey of police and emergency services personnel in Australia – Answering the call. Beyond Blue engaged The University of Western Australia who partnered with Roy Morgan Research to undertake this phase. The results from this national survey are now available (see below).

  • Phase 3 a collaborative knowledge-to-action project where police and emergency services agencies will be supported to translate the evidence identified by Phases 1 and 2 of the research to promote wellbeing and mental health, support those affected by poor mental health and prevent suicide. Beyond Blue has developed a Knowledge Translation Guide to assist agencies with this task.

An Advisory Group has been formed to provide strategic guidance for the research study and ensure it is informed by the diversity and depth of expertise in the police and emergency services sector. The group is being chaired by Ken Lay AO APM, Chairman of Ambulance Victoria and former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, and includes senior leaders and representatives from agencies, unions and community groups, clinicians and academics, a former police officer and family member of an emergency services employee.

Answering the call – national survey findings

Answering the call is the first national survey of the mental health and wellbeing of personnel in the police and emergency services. It was conducted between October 2017 and March 2018 and the results were released in November 2018.

Beyond Blue worked together with police and emergency services agencies, peak bodies, unions and other key groups on this landmark, national survey to provide a detailed picture of the issues affecting the mental health and wellbeing of employees, former employees, and volunteers.

In total, 21,014 police and emergency services volunteers and current and former employees across a range of roles, ranks and locations participated in the survey.

The national survey findings reflect the collective voices of the 21,014 individuals who shared their information with us and made this evidence possible. The results reveal a workforce that is deeply impacted, both by the nature of the work that they do, and the pressures of the environments in which they work. These results compel action. They require a dedicated and collective effort to ensure that we strengthen our approach to protecting those who protect us – to make a real difference to people’s lives.

Download the Answering the call national survey reports:

Executive summary [download PDF)

Final report [download PDF)

Detailed report [download PDF)

 


The Beyond Blue Police and Emergency Services Program is managed by the Workplace and Workforce team at Beyond Blue. For further information please contact us.

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