SES Volunteers Association of Western Australia (Incorporated)

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26/11/2020 – Volunteer Mental Health research Project


My name is Amanda and I am the lead researcher at the University of Adelaide on a 12-month project, which has been requested by the AFAC Volunteer Management Technical Group (VMTG) and funded by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre and The Hospital Research Foundation.   The research is aimed understanding the mental health and support needs of young fire and emergency service volunteers (aged 16-25).  

If you are in a role with a fire or emergency services that involves oversight of or responsibility for young volunteers (e.g., Brigade Captains or Unit Leaders), you are invited to participate in a focus group to help us understand how to support young volunteer mental health. The focus group will be held via Zoom (or similar online software), so you will need to have access to a suitable internet connection and webcam. The focus group will run for two hours and you will receive a $40 voucher as a thank you for your participation. If you are interested, please contact me at the following email address for more information:

Project Overview

 PROJECT TITLE: Positive mental health for young adult emergency services volunteers


PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Dr Amanda Taylor, School of Psychology, University of Adelaide

What is the project about?

The overall aim of the project is to identify what are the factors at an individual, local, and organisation-wide level that minimise the short- and long-term and cumulative impacts of potentially traumatising events (PTE), and promote good mental health and wellbeing for young adult (16-25 year old) volunteers in emergency service organisations.

Who is undertaking the project?

This project is being conducted by a team of researchers based at University of Adelaide, Flinders University, University of Western Australia, and The Road Home, led by Dr Amanda Taylor at the University of Adelaide. The project has been funded by a grant from the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, with additional Funding from The Hospital Research Foundation.

Why am I being invited to participate?

You are being invited as you are a young person, between the ages of 16-25, who resides in Australia and is presently engaged in a volunteer role with an emergency services organisation. In order to participate, you must be able to understand and be able to use spoken English sufficiently to be able to participate in a conversational focus group to be conducted in English.

What am I being invited to do?

You are being invited to participate in an online focus group in which you will be asked about your perspective on mental health supports for young adult fire and emergency services volunteers. The discussion will involve questions about mental health impacts of the 2019-2020 bushfire season, along with COVID-19. We will ask you to provide your perspective on preferences for accessing mental health information.

During the focus group, you will only be required to use your first name. You will not be required to provide your full name, and if you would prefer, we will be able to utilise a pseudonym for you during the focus group. However, we request, as a condition of participating in the study, that you provide your email address, and the email address of a parent or guardian if you are under 18, to take part in this study. We will also need you to provide the location from which you are connecting to the focus group from, in order to follow up with supports if needed.

After the focus groups have ended, contact details and location details will not be stored with your responses.

How much time will my involvement in the project take?

It is anticipated that the focus group will run for approximately 2 hours (120 minutes). As a thank you for your participation, you will receive a $40 gift voucher.


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