Published: 05 Sep 2017

Firefighters step up for mental health

Firefighters step up with great bravery in harrowing situations every day to save lives but on the weekend they stepped up for a different cause – mental health.

The atmosphere was electric as more than 650 firefighters from across Australia, the USA and New Zealand raced up 28 flights of stairs at Crown Metropol Hotel wearing 25 kilograms of gear, including breathing apparatus and heavy boots, at the fourth annual Melbourne Firefighter Stairclimb.

Mental health – depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide – is a big deal for our nation’s firefighters and we are extremely grateful that Lifeline is one of the beneficiaries of funds raised this year.

Lifeline Melbourne Manager Tina Thomas and Suicide Prevention Coordinator Kerry Dawson attended the Melbourne Firefighter Stairclimb on Saturday to cheer on firefighters and humbly accept a cheque for $233,671.

In her speech at the award ceremony at Munich Brauhaus, Tina stressed the importance of speaking about mental health and eradicating stigma around depression, post-traumatic stress and suicide.

“Sadly, many people here have lost colleagues to suicide in recent years. These are high pressure jobs and depression and post traumatic stress are common,” she said.

“It’s amazing to see so many firefighters here today doing something so positive and proactive to get people talking about these important issues – and of course to raise much-needed funds for important front-line services like Lifeline.”

Lifeline Melbourne will use the money to employ more staff and train volunteers to cover the busiest periods in our Melbourne phone room – which include weekends, holidays and late at night. These are times when people can feel at their most vulnerable and turn to Lifeline for support.

The Black Dog Institute also received $233,671 to support the continued development and delivery of effective mental health research, training and community education.