The NZPFU has a successful meeting with the UFBA and FENZ reaching agreement to involve psychologists in a working group to develop and monitor appropriate research into mental wellness.
The NZPFU was concerned that proposed research into the prevalence of mental health through a survey of FENZ staff and volunteers was not the best use of funding. We wanted to ensure that the research would result in beneficial outcomes such as a greater understanding of the programmes needed to build resilience and to treat those experiencing mental health issues.
The NZPFU requested a meeting with FENZ to discuss the scope of the proposed study and asked the UFBA CEO Bill Butzbach to participate.
NZPFU SME and Southern Branch Secretary Jim Ryburn was instrumental in putting together a proposal to involve the practitioners who have been working with FENZ firefighters and others in determining the appropriate scope of research. In his role as welfare officer Jim has developed an extensive working relationship with many of the psychologists and counsellors working with firefighters. Their insight into the nature of the issues FENZ staff and volunteers are experiencing, the areas that would benefit from research and the types of programmes to build resilience and assist those with mental wellness issues, will be invaluable. It is intended that this group will also form the advisory group to oversee the research. We will also have a representative on the advisory group.
FENZ has committed $300,000 to the research and we can achieve a credible body of evidence that will be a foundation to build a strong and successful mental wellness programme.