Online Summit to Build the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Our First Responder Community


Fortem Australia is inviting everyone with an interest in the mental health and wellbeing of our first responder community to take part in a dynamic, FREE online summit called “Beyond Duty” this Thursday 2nd September.

John Bale, Managing Director, of Fortem Australia, explained “The pandemic is adding further pressure [to first responders and their families], and a recent survey of 1500 first responders by Charles Sturt University showed rates of severe depression and anxiety was 10 and 4 times higher, respectively, than the general population,” Mr Bale said.

Beyond Duty aims to create a stronger focus on the family and social networks of emergency service workers, highlighting the protective influence that strengthening these bonds can have.

Beyond Duty will run from 8:30am on 2nd September in three online sessions spread across the day. To view the full program and register click HERE.

Some of the highlights include:

• Graham Ashton and Dr Liz Sutton: Graham is the former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Liz is a Research Fellow at Monash University. For the first time they will reflect on their 25-year lived experience as a first responder family – the positive and negative and what they learnt along the way about the wellbeing needs of their community during and post service.

• Dr David Lawrence, from the University of Western Australia. David will share the lessons learned from the “Answering the Call’ and ‘After the Fires’ research, focusing on the importance of workplace culture, family and community in supporting the wellbeing of emergency services personnel.

• Panel Discussion: Suicide in the First Responder Community: Lived Experience, Risk Factors and Prevention. Shayne Connell, CEO, LivingWorks Australia, Dr Jacqueline Drew, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith University, and Tara Lal, Senior Firefighter, Rescue NSW, PhD Candidate, University of New England.

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