Members have reported a survey circulating by a Massey University student seeking firefighters to participate. The survey and research is about the cumulative trauma and self-regulation of PTSI symptoms, depression and suicide by NZ firefighters.
On the information we have, we do not support this research and advise members it is not in your interests to participate.
The NZPFU supports credible research into the mental health of firefighters. To be credible there has to be clear cohorts to ensure the data is not distorted and results in a true reflection of the reality that can assist with understanding mental health in the industry.
On the information we have about this research we do not believe there is sufficient controls for this research to be of value.
In addition we have real concerns about surveys being sent to firefighters which can result in the recall of trauma and in itself cause harm. Such research must only be undertaken in controlled environments to minimise possible ongoing harm.
Globally firefighter unions have been very careful only to support credible research that have the necessary controls, and we would expect to be part of a reference group to ensure the study has the necessary controls in order to be credible.
We understand there are some controls that university research has (including ethics committee requirements) but that does not meet the requirements for cohort control and to address the risk of harm.