News & Current Affairs |






13 June 2019



Media are invited to cover a major conference being held in Albury on the mental health impacts on first responders.


WHO: John McCormack, Senator Anne Urquhart, conference presenters and attendees including representatives from Police, Ambulance, Fire Brigade and Australian Army.


WHERE: Commercial Club, 618 Dean St, Albury


WHEN: 0800 for 0830 start, Tuesday 18 June 2019. Conference continues all day.




A major conference in Albury today will address the issue of the impact of their work on first responders: paramedics, police and firies.


Conference convenor John McCormack who is a Clinical Training Officer with NSW Ambulance said the impact of seeing tragedy had the capacity to have a major affect on our first responders.


“We see things on a daily basis that the public don’t ever see which affects us long term,” Mr McCormack said.


“We have first responders who suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and we must find better ways to support these workers,” he said.


First responders have a higher rate of mental health issues and suicide according to a recent report by Beyond Blue.


“This conference is aimed at facilitating additional support, education and awareness for first responders and their families.”


Mr McCormack said first responders have symptoms including depression, anxiety, anger, restlessness, insomnia, increased use of alcohol and other drugs. These problems affect their careers, and their family and personal life.


“What is urgently needed is for the employers of first responders to offer greater support and provide more effective services to help them get well.”


 “We need more recognition that first responders are a vulnerable group who require additional help than that which is currently being offered. There must be changes to support services and a recognition that emergency services agencies should make mandatory amendments to the support, education and services provided to staff.” 

“If there are first responders out there having problems, they should reach out to others who can help and not suffer in silence.”


“They need to understand that ‘its ok not to be ok’.”


“We need Government, employers and the wider community to take a more sympathetic attitude to the mental health problems being suffered by our first responders and stop stigmatizing those who have been injured by their employment.”


Mr McCormack said Senator Anne Urquhart took a leading role in the Senate Inquiry into mental health care for first responders.


Media contact John McCormack 0416 295 693