Responder Assist’s clinical service has been developed for emergency workers in Victoria, including those who are volunteers or who have retired. Emergency workers, or those who form part of an emergency worker’s support network, can contact the service on 1800 329 191 Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm.
The confidential and independent service provides treatment by specialist clinicians trained in working with emergency services personnel who have experienced trauma. Accessing the service is straightforward and those who need help can be referred by the health professional treating them, or an emergency worker can refer themselves.
Dr Andrea Putica, Clinical Psychologist at Phoenix Australia, explains what emergency workers can expect if they contact the service. “We find out why they have come to us and what is going on for them,” says Andrea. “We gain a high-level summary and it’s just an informal conversation – no diagnosis is needed. We also ask about any preferences they may have for treatment, like do they want to see someone face-to-face and do they prefer a male or female clinician.”
The initial assessment takes 20 to 25 minutes and collects key information about the person needing support. During that first point of contact, a brief mental health screen determines if the emergency services worker is at risk so that appropriate support can be quickly arranged if needed.