As well as dealing with usual work and life pressures, CFA members are often exposed to potentially traumatic or stressful incidents, which can put them at potential risk of mental health issues, such as stress, anxiety or depression.
This can have an impact on how they manage at home and work. It can affect their relationships with others, particularly their family and friends.
It's important that CFA members manage their mental health in the same way as they manage their physical health. If your partner or loved one is experiencing difficulties, it’s important that they get help early, so it doesn’t develop into a more serious mental illness.
CFA has a range of support services and resources to help members manage through any mental health or relationship issues.
As a family member, you’re also able to access these free, confidential services for any issue – it doesn’t have to relate to CFA.
How to support your partner or mate
Every person is different and their reactions to potentially traumatic or stressful incidents will be different.
If a family member has been involved in a potentially traumatic situation, you can help by:
- Spending time with them. Listen carefully, reassure them and support them. Just being there for them may be all they require.
- Give them space if they don't want to talk.
- Encouraging them to engage in activities or hobbies they enjoy.
- Suggesting they seek help from their Brigade or the Peer Program.
How to recognise a problem
There are a number of warning signs that could suggest your partner or loved one is having difficulty as a result of their work with CFA, such as attending a potentially traumatic event.
Keep an eye out for changes in how they:
- Interact with their family, friends, workmates or brigade.
- Eat and drink
- Feel physically
- Normally operate. For example, has their routine changed? Are they finding it difficult to get back to their normal activities such as socialising, exercising or enjoying their hobbies?
If you notice significant changes in their behaviour or emotional reactions, they may need some help to get their old selves back.
CFA support services are available to CFA members and their families free of charge.
When you contact any of these services, make sure you identify yourself as the partner/family member of a CFA member:
When ringing, identify yourself as a family member of a CFA member.
|Peer support||Provided by trained members, peers provide a crucial link to other CFA support services.||Your local CFA headquarters and ask for the Regional/District Peer Coordinator|
|Chaplaincy Support||Pastoral care such as spiritual, physical, psychological and emotional care. Support is not limited to a faith.||Converge International by calling 1800 337 068. You can contact the Chaplain directly or through the Regional office.|
|Member Assistance Program||Professional mental health services in a range of areas, including family and relationship issues.||1300 795 711|
|Heads UP||An online resource to help members and families identify and manage mental health and relationship issues||www.cfa.vic.gov.au/headsup|
|Wellbeing Pilot Service Program||Experienced Field Officers available to help Brigades manage relationship and mental health issues.||(03)9262 8409