Mental Health & Wellbeing for Volunteers

Wellbeing support services are available to all CFA members and their immediate family, this information is tailored to support Volunteers.

 

Quick Reference

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CFA Wellbeing Support Line - 1800 959 232
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Recovery after Trauma - Guide
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Stress Response and the Brain - Video

  • Short term solution focussed counselling (up to 6 one hour sessions*)
  • Skills for Psychological Recovery
  • Manager Assist
  • Support for personal issues
  • Support those involved in a potentially traumatic event
  • Pastoral Care for personal and CFA related issues
  • Regular onsite visits
  • Mental Health & Resilience
  • Interpersonal Conflict & Team Relationships
  • Having Difficult Conversations
  • Mental Health Promotion
  • Wellbeing services awareness training

How can we help you today?

I need urgent psychological support from a Psychologist or Counsellor

CFA Wellbeing Support Line

One number to manage your wellbeing

Providing CFA members and their immediate family access to support 24 hours, 7 days a week

1800 959 232

I want to know more about what Wellbeing Services are available at CFA

Manage your own Mental Health & Wellbeing

We are committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of our people.

Managing your mental health and wellbeing is just as important as looking after your physical health.

CFA has a range of support services and resources to help CFA people maintain good mental health and deal with difficulties when they arise.

These services are free, confidential and available to everyone at CFA including their immediate family members for any mental health or relationship issue - it doesn't have to relate to CFA.

  • Member Assistance Program
    • Short term solution focussed counselling (up to 6 one hour sessions*)
    • Skills for Psychological Recovery
    • Manager Assist
  • Peer Support Program
    • Support for personal issues
    • Support those involved in a potentially traumatic event
  • Chaplaincy Program
    • Pastoral Care for personal and CFA related issues
    • Regular onsite visits
  • Bullying & Harassment
  • Centre Against Sexual Assault
    • Specialised support service for survivors of historic child sexual abuse. This service provides specialised counselling to CFA people and their families. If calling this service please advise the operator that you are a CFA employee or family member.

It is important to note that there is not a one size fits all approach when it comes to the wellbeing services provided. If at first you do not succeed in building comfortable rapport with a particular Psychologist, Counsellor or Chaplain, do not hesitate in reaching out to another option even if it is a different Peer or Psychologist.

I want to understand more about risks to mental health

Understand your mental health risks

Understanding more about mental health means you'll be better able to look after your own wellbeing and support other members who may be experiencing difficulties.

Mental health conditions are common, 45% of Australians will experience a mental health issue in their life.

As a volunteer with CFA, there are several factors that can affect your mental health:

  • Attending potentially traumatic or stressful incidents
  • Bullying, harassment and discrimination
  • Conflict with others
  • General life stressors
  • Exposure to vicarious trauma through your role in CFA

The most common mental health issues are stress, anxiety and depression.

Like physical health, your mental health can vary over time, depending on circumstances in your life.

When you're experiencing a mental health issue, it can affect how you think, feel and behave. If left untreated, it could turn into a more serious mental illness.

One way to avoid mental health issues is by identifying those situations or interactions that generally cause you to feel stressed or anxious to the point where it affects your day-to-day life.

Once you're aware of these triggers, you'll be better able to put in place strategies to minimise the impacts they may have on your mental health.

Some of the more common and well-researched categories of mental illnesses include:

I am concerned about another persons mental health

Recognising the warning signs

A mental health issue can start to impact on your life in several different ways.

Changes in your behaviour, your work performance or your interactions with others could indicate a mental health issue.

Some of the changes you should look out for include:

  • Trouble sleeping or restless, disturbed sleep
  • Feeling irritable, nervous, worried, sad, overwhelmed
  • Forgetfulness, poor concentration
  • Lack of energy or feeling fatigued
  • Headaches, muscle tension, increased aches and pains
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Increased alcohol consumption or gambling

If you're experiencing some or all these things, you should consider seeking help before they start to impact on your wellbeing, your work, your brigade responsibilities or your relationships.

Other supports

National Redress Scheme

  • As a participant of the national redress scheme that commenced on 1 July 2018, CFA encourages its people affected to familiarise themselves with the process to be undertaken. Click here for more information on the National Redress Scheme, which is for people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse.
  • CFA is committed to ensuring a safe environment for all our people and has specialised services in place for survivors of historic child sexual abuse, this includes a partnership with Centres Against Sexual Assault (CASA). If you are concerned about current matters involving the safety of children at CFA please contact the child safety officer at childsafetyofficer@cfa.vic.gov.au
  • If you are concerned about any past or current matters relating to yourself, a family member or a colleague, please contact the CFA Integrity Office for a confidential discussion: integrityoffice@cfa.vic.gov.au

Compensation

As part of CFA's longer-term support for CFA volunteers, compensation is available to those who sustain a personal injury or medical condition as a result of their service with CFA. For more information click here.

I am looking for tools and resources to support my mental health and wellbeing

Tools & Resources For Individuals

Potentially Traumatic Events

Tipsheets:

Interpersonal Conflict

Tipsheets:

Mental Health

Tipsheets:

Other Contact Information

CFA Wellbeing Support Line — 1800 959 232 (access to all of CFA Support Services)

Organisational Wellbeing Team — 1800 959 232 (follow the prompts) or wellbeing@cfa.vic.gov.au

I am after more information about what Wellbeing Training is available for my brigade

Support for Brigades

Member Wellbeing Advisors

Each Region has their own dedicated Member Wellbeing Advisor (MWA). The role of the MWA is to deliver a range of targeted educational packages to support leaders and their brigades to promote positive mental health & wellbeing.

This may include:

  • Mental Health & Resilience
  • Interpersonal Conflict & Team Relationships
  • Having Difficult Conversations
  • Coaching Support to Help Manage Issues
  • Wellbeing Services Overview

To find your local MWA see contact details below.

RegionMWAContact
South WestTrudy Deller0447 513 186
WestMichelle Taylor0400 082 088
North WestChris Bull0429 072 413
North EastMelisa Sincock0429 078 404
South EastAnne Duff0447 331 457

Wellbeing Services Awareness Training

This training package aims to support the good mental health and personal resilience of our volunteers. It includes information about mental health and wellbeing resources available to you and your family during times of need.

You can arrange for a Peer to talk through the package with your Brigade. Contact your local Peer Coordinator by calling 1800 959 232

Dealing with Bullying, Harassment or Discrimination

What is bullying, harassment or discrimination?

Bullying is repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed toward a person, or group of people, that creates a risk to health and safety. Whilst the definition requires behaviour to be repeated, a serious one-off event can constitute bullying.

Bullying - What it is and what it isn't - pdf 285k

Harassment is any uninvited, unwelcome behaviour, which a reasonable person could anticipate would create intimidation, humiliation or offence for the other person(s) in those circumstances. Harassment does not have to be repeated or intentional.

Unlawful Discrimination is the unfair or unequal treatment of an individual on the basis of one or more of a number of attributes, including:

  • Age
  • Pregnancy or potential pregnancy
  • Impairment or disability
  • Race
  • Industrial activity or inactivity
  • Religious belief or activity
  • Lawful sexual activity
  • Sex
  • Marital, parental or carer status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Physical features
  • Gender identity
  • Political belief or activity
  • Breastfeeding
  • Personal association with a person who is identified by reference to any of the above attributes

What should I do if I am affected by bullying, harassment or discrimination?

  • Attempt to resolve it with the other party directly. If threats of harm have been made by the other party towards you, you should consider whether another person should be present at this meeting or whether police should be involved. If you are ready to take action click here for guidance.
  • Follow CFA's policy and procedures to address the issue.

What should I do if others are affected by bullying, harassment or discrimination?

  • Encourage them to resolve it with the other party directly. If threats of harm have been made by the other party towards them, they should consider whether another person should be present at this meeting or whether police should be involved. If you are ready to take action click here for guidance.
  • Follow CFA's policy and procedures to address the issue.
  • Encourage them to take action and seek support through the CFA Wellbeing Support Line by calling 1800 959 232.

Dealing with Interpersonal Conflict

What is Interpersonal Conflict?

Conflict is more than a mere disagreement. Conflict relates to a situation where, as a result of difference of view, one or more parties in the situation perceives a threat to their wellbeing (needs, interests or concerns) whether it is physical or emotional; or related to perceived lack of personal power, status, role or authority.

Differences in style and expectations can generate resentment, avoidance, aggression and other destructive thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

If left unattended interpersonal conflict can lead to bullying.

Managing conflict - pdf 102k

What should I do if I am affected by Interpersonal Conflict?

  • Attempt to resolve it with the other party directly. If threats of harm have been made by the other party towards you, you should consider whether another person should be present at this meeting or whether police should be involved. If you are ready to take action click here for guidance.
  • Follow CFA's policy and procedures to address the issue.

What should I do if others are affected by Interpersonal Conflict?

  • Encourage them to resolve it with the other party directly. If threats of harm have been made by the other party towards them, they should consider whether another person should be present at this meeting or whether police should be involved. If you are ready to take action click here for guidance.
  • Follow CFA's policy and procedures to address the issue.
  • Encourage them to take action and seek support through the CFA Wellbeing Support Line by calling 1800 959 232.

I am a leader wanting more information on how to support someone else who is struggling

Tools & Resources For Leaders

Other Contact Information

CFA Wellbeing Support Line — 1800 959 232 (access to all of CFA Support Services)

Organisational Wellbeing Team — 03 9262 8409 or wellbeing@cfa.vic.gov.au

Member Wellbeing Advisors

Each Region and HQ have their own dedicated Member Wellbeing Advisor (MWA). The role of the MWA is to deliver a range of targeted educational packages to support leaders and their teams to promote positive mental health & wellbeing.

This may include:

  • Mental Health & Resilience
  • Interpersonal Conflict & Team Relationships
  • Having Difficult Conversations
  • Coaching Support to Help Manage Issues
  • Wellbeing Services Overview

To find your local MWA see contact details below.

RegionMWAContact
South WestTrudy Deller0447 513 186
WestMichelle Taylor0400 082 088
North WestChris Bull0429 072 413
North EastSimone Boyd0429 078 404
South EastAnne Duff0447 331 457
CFA HQNick Valentine0437 731 363

I am looking for support services not provided by CFA

External Support Options & Useful Links

If you prefer not to access the support services provided by CFA, you can seek help externally, through an appropriately registered and accredited social worker, counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist. The important thing is to take the step to get the support you need and that you're comfortable with.

In the first instance, you should visit your GP to discuss your symptoms and possibly get a referral to a trained, accredited professional. As with most physical health issues, almost all mental health issues can be treated or at least managed.

Lifeline

Access to online, phone and face-to-face crisis support and suicide prevention services.

Department of Human Services

Community health and welfare in major emergency situations.

VFBV Volunteer Welfare Fund

Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria offers a welfare fund aimed at supporting CFA volunteer members during times of financial hardship.

Beyond Blue

Advice and support for anxiety and depression.

Red Cross Australia

Resources to assist all Australians prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies as well as information about helping children and young people cope with crisis.

Australian Centre for Post-Traumatic Mental Health

Information about trauma, mental health and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

It's Alright

Information about dealing with mental illness. A good website for teenagers.

Headspace

The National Youth Mental Health Foundation which helps young people who are going through a tough time.

R U OK?

National focus and leadership on suicide prevention by empowering Australians to have open and honest conversations and stay connected with people in their lives.

Resources

A message on mental health from the former Chief Officer

Ready to take action?

I am here to help myself

Step 1:

  • Familiarise yourself with the policy and procedures that exist.
  • Identify your concerns and plan a meeting with the other party.
  • Adopt a calm and professional manner.
  • Discuss the issue you are concerned about and focus on the observable behaviour of concern and any observable symptoms. Avoid interrupting and avoid appearing judgmental.
  • Discuss the options available and ask the other person for ideas to resolve the issues.
  • Agree to proposed actions for each person.
  • Monitor the situation and provide feedback.

Step 2:

  • Document the methods you have used to resolve the issue yourself.
  • Contact the relevant line manager, Officer in Charge or District/Region contact according to the policy and procedure.

Step 3:

  • Manage your mental health. Bullying, harassment, discrimination and interpersonal conflict issues can be stressful. If you need further information on mental health click here.
  • Alternatively, you may wish to seek support through the CFA Wellbeing Support Line by calling 1800 959 232.
  • For more information about complaints resolution click here

I am here to help other people

Step 1:

  • Direct them to CFA's policy and procedures and encourage them to read through everything thoroughly.
  • Get them to identify their concerns and plan a meeting with the other party.
  • Advise them to adopt a calm and professional manner.
  • Remind them to discuss the issue they are concerned about and focus on the observable behaviour of concern and any observable symptoms. Avoid interrupting and avoid appearing judgmental.
  • Remind them to work together with the other party and discuss the options available and ask the other person for ideas to resolve the issues.
  • Remind them to seek agreement on to proposed actions for each person.
  • Recommend they monitor the situation and provide feedback.

Step 2:

  • Encourage them to document the methods they have used to resolve the issue.
  • Encourage them to contact the relevant line manager, Officer in Charge or District/Region contact according to the policy and procedure.

Step 3:

  • Support them to manage their mental health. Bullying, harassment, discrimination and interpersonal conflict issues can be stressful. If you need further information on mental health click here.
  • Encourage them to access support through the CFA Wellbeing Support Line by calling 1800 959 232.
  • For more information about complaints resolution click here.

Authorised by: Manager, Organisational Wellbeing
Maintained by: Organisational Wellbeing
Created: 24/08/2018
Modified: 12/09/2018
Access: Volunteers