The following general recommendations arise from the experiences of this Churchill Fellowship,
a comprehensive literature review and from a large body of work that has been done by
previous Churchill Fellows in the mental health and wellbeing emergency first responder space
in Australia and internationally. The recommendations are:
1. The peer support programs implemented need to have evaluation measures in place to
2. Volunteer organisations implementing peer support programs must focus on evidencebased education, facilitating support for the volunteers and building readiness to cope
with work related stressors. - 26 -
3. Australian peer support programs need to provide a seamless multiagency response to
major emergency activation. Standardisation of program application, language and
terminology across services will further support this.
4. Peer support programs should be embedded in emergency service volunteer
organisations as an early intervention strategy, and part of the broader organisation
5. New South Wales volunteer first responder organisations should adopt a uniform peer
support model coordinated through the existing NSW Response Agency Staff Support
Alliance (RASSA) group.
6. That an independent national coordination body is identified for the purpose of having
oversight of and providing advice, expertise and support to program implementation,
evaluation and research across emergency service organisations.
7. There are many people and organisations doing good work in the first responder peer
support space internationally. Maintaining contact and networking through a coordination
point where collaboration and sharing of information and resources nationally with these
contacts could occur would be extremely beneficial. Keywords : Peer support, peer support program, first responders, emergency services, mental health, traumatic events, emergency first responders, volunteers, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), trauma risk management, TRiM, critical incident, stress management, CISM