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people around you and to support them on their journey. It is a national day of action and a reminder that everyday is a day to start a meaningful conversation. It is OK not to be OK!

Understanding mental health within emergency services and their personnel has become increasingly important. Until recently, Surf Life Saving organisations were not included in research that explored these issues. This year’s R U OK theme is “I’m here to hear”, reinforcing the fact that you don’t need qualifications to talk with someone about mental health and that a conversation really could change a life.

Recognising the importance of our members’ wellbeing, Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) is committed to understanding the mental health of its membership and initiated SLSA’s Mental Health Project. The SLSA Mental Health Project has been conducted in collaboration with CQUniversity, Flinders University, UNSW, and Massey University, and is pioneering efforts to understand and address the mental health challenges faced by Australian surf lifesavers and lifeguards. This initiative is a significant step towards safeguarding those who safeguard the community.

The first mental health survey conducted in 2021 revealed that one in three adolescent members (13-17 years old) were at risk of developing post traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) which may develop into post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those patrolling for more years were at greater risk of exposure to potentially traumatic events (PTEs) and were more likely to have experienced higher levels of direct trauma. However, social networks developed within SLS are expected to be protective against impacts of exposure to traumatic events.

To continue this important mission, SLSA want to hear from you! We are calling on all Australian surf lifesavers and lifeguards over the age of 13 years old to complete the current survey which is live now.

Take the survey now:

Adolescent (13-17 years old – please note you will need to get consent from a parent or guardian) https://cqu.syd1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8qQoJX4871kfDtY

Adult (18+ years old) https://cqu.syd1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_7TDGlKU2cCHeW7I

Read our associated research here:

A preliminary study investigating the neglected domain of mental health in Australian lifesavers and lifeguards: https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-1575166/v1

Forgotten first responders: Australian surf lifesavers and lifeguards: https://doi.org/10.1111/1742-6723.13754

Remember that you’re not alone.

If you’re concerned about your own or someone else’s mental health and wellbeing, you can get confidential help by contacting your Surf Life Saving state centre or by reaching out to any of the following support organisations:

Lifeline Australia: 131114

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

Multicultural Mental Health: 02 6285 3100

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

Survivors of torture and trauma who have come to Australia from overseas: 07 3391 6677

Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636

Benestar: 1300 360 364

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