New Paramedic Health and Wellbeing Research Unit
On Thursday the 21st of February the Department of Community Emergency Health and Paramedic Practice launched the Paramedic Health and Wellbeing Research Unit (PHaWRU).
PHaWRU is Australia’s first centre looking at the mental and physical health and wellbeing of paramedics – which will extend this and other research into a profession that has a suicide rate four times higher than the Victorian average.
Paramedics undertake one of the most important roles in our society – providing assistance to those in need. This cardinal responsibility is often associated with poor sleep, stress and an increased risk of health problems. Left unchecked, these problems may escalate into higher levels of depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stress, fatigue, and even suicide – the rate of which among paramedics is currently three times higher than other emergency workers.
PHaWRU will bring together multiple disciplines to research ways to improve the lives and resilience of Victoria’s more than 3400 paramedics and 578 MICA paramedics, according to the Unit’s Director, Professor Kelly Bowles.
“We will be working with psychologists, nutritionists, exercise physiologists as well as Ambulance Victoria to look at the current health and mental wellbeing of our paramedics and researching ways to make them healthier, mentally and physically,” she said.