Partnership researches pathways to overcome depression and anxiety in emergency services personnel with PTSD

UNSW Sydney and EML have earned an Australian Research Council grant to better understand and treat the links between PTSD, depression and anxiety in the NSW emergency services personnel.

The ground-breaking three-year project aims to evaluate a NSW emergency services rehabilitation program addressing the persistent depression which impedes recovery and return to work in personnel affected by psychological trauma.

It builds on recent discoveries in the role of rumination and repetitive focussing on negative memories that maintain depression.

“Despite strong evidence that emergency services personnel experience elevated rates of PTSD and depression, there is a significant lack of research on how to optimally manage their stress reactions and enhance rehabilitation outcomes to help them return to work and their lives,” said Professor Richard Bryant from UNSW’s School of Psychology and Senior Principal Research Fellow.

“EML, through its Member Benefits program, is investing in this research and is excited to partner with Professor Richard Bryant and UNSW for the future of emergency services personnel,” EML Member Benefits Manager Elisa Hitchens said.

Optimum results will see greater reductions in depression, better functioning and enhanced return to work outcomes initially for frontline NSW emergency services personnel.

However, the study outcomes could shape future policies of emergency services agencies and insurers worldwide.