An important part of the 2023 settlement of the collective agreement - the NZPFU initiated Psychological Support and Supervision Pilot – is now underway.
The programme is targeted at NZPFU firefighter and comms centre members who have not previously reached out for psychological support. The purpose is to provide a preventative wellness programme to encourage access to psychologists to have an outlet to discuss issues, identify issues, be provided with tools and techniques to better manage mental health and wellness. It is akin to the supervision other public sector health workers access to provided ongoing support and access to psychologists to maintain mental wellness. It is hoped this programme will continue to break down the barriers and stigma to actively addressing mental health as well as build a relationship with the psychologist as a foundation should more acute care be necessary.
The NZPFU and FENZ agreed to a pilot where 200 NZPFU members from listed stations and workplaces, who are not already under the care of a mental health professional, can voluntarily participate in the programme which will link them individually and confidentially with a psychologist to discuss any issues affecting their wellbeing in a confidential and safe forum. This pilot is in addition to, and not a substitute for, any other access to psychological support or counselling. Participating in the pilot does not affect any other access and support the employee may need.
We hope the initiative will be a pathway for members to be supported to learn about how to prioritise their mental wellbeing. It will be an opportunity to have the tools to understand their mental health needs, as well as be cognisant of any changes to their wellbeing so that there is a seamless transition with a known psychologist for additional support and assistance as required.
Who can participate?
NZPFU members from the following fire stations/workplaces can voluntarily opt in by completing the application via https://portal.fireandemergency.nz/notices-news-and-events/news/new-wellbeing-pilot-launched/
- Manurewa Station
- Mangere Station
- Papatoetoe Station
- Hamilton Station
- Taupo Station
- Gisborne Station
- Invercargill Station
- Porirua Station
- Nelson Station
- Northern, Central and Southern Comms Centres
The request to participate will be treated confidentially and the only involvement by FENZ will be to coordinate the NZPFU member with the appropriate psychologist. All discussions with the psychologist will be confidential to the NZPFU member. FENZ will only know the member is participating in the pilot for coordination and payment of the psychologist. FENZ will meet all costs of the pilot including the employee’s time in attending the psychologist appointments.
For the purposes of the pilot the participating NZPFU member will also be able to provide anonymised feedback and the psychologist will also provide feedback on the pilot generally without any reference to the individuals.
The pilot is for 200 NZPFU members who are not currently under any mental health care. Once the members in the above fire stations and comms centres have had an opportunity to participate, any remaining places on the pilot may be offered to other workplaces.
The pilot will run for a minimum of 12 months with the intention for the participants to have a series of engagements with their psychologist in order to genuinely benefit from a mental wellness programme.
The NZPFU encourages members from the above listed stations and workplaces to participate in this confidential programme and to provide feedback so that we can assess whether this is a programme that has genuine benefit for the wellbeing of our members .