UNSW Sydney and insurer EML will undertake a three-year project to better understand and treat the links between post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety in NSW emergency services personnel.
The research, to be funded by an Australia Research Council grant, will evaluate an NSW emergency services rehabilitation program addressing the persistent depression, which impedes recovery and return to work in personnel affected by psychological trauma.
The project builds on recent discoveries in the role of rumination and repetitive focusing 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.