Shocking suicide statistics for emergency service workers

THEY'RE the heroes of our communities, saving lives and keeping us safe.

But new statistics, which reveal one emergency service worker takes his/her own life every week in Australia, prove even the Clarence's most brave are not immune to life's harsh realities.

The data, gathered by coroners around the country, shows police officers, paramedics, fire and rescue officers in regional areas also have it more tough than those in metropolitan centres.

North Coast Police Association Executive Member Brett Henderson-Smith said it could be harder for emergency service personnel in the Clarence Valley due to the community nature of the region.

"This is a horrific situation we're dealing with, we're losing people in the prime of their lives," he said. 

"It can be tougher in regional centres, in the bush you know the local community.

"They deal with devastating situations where they may know the persons involved. It is extremely hard for them to cope with seeing these things."

But Mr Henderson-Smith said the union was attempting to assist its members by providing them with educational seminars on dealing with traumatic events.

"The union has developed a program called Career and Resilience Education Program (CARE). It is a resilience training program for our police and members that improve their general health and wellbeing by helping them cope with situations they are put in and improve their resilience and ability to bounce.

But it is not just police officers who struggle to deal with the traumatic situations they witness on a daily basis.

The Fire Brigade Employment Union president Darren Sullivan said fire and rescue teams in the Clarence were definitely prone to mental illness.

"We're seeing a lot of it, something that the union continues to work with the employer to deal with," he said.

If you or anyone you know are suffering from mental illness, see a medical practitioner or phone the SANE hotline on 1800 187 263.

Topics:  emergency services mental health suicide

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