New mental health training for Fire & Rescue NSW managers

The Black Dog Institute and UNSW Workplace Mental Health Team are currently conducting a study investigating the effectiveness of a new mental health training program for managers in Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW).

Managers have a key role in the well being of staff.  They are often become involved when a staff member is having difficulties and should always have a role once someone is away on sickness absence.  However, managers often report feeling unsure what to do when a staff member is ill, particularly if they are suffering from a mental illness.  This novel program of manager training combines teaching about mental ill health with practical advice about how to speak to and help those who may be suffering from mental health problems.

In order to evaluate if this new training program works, we have carried out a randomised control trial, with a six month follow up, in which we examine the effectiveness of the program in increasing mental health literacy, reducing stigma regarding mental illness and increasing managers’ confidence and skills in having difficult conversations.  We are also investigating the impact of the training on overall levels of sickness absence amongst staff.  

Click here for a description of the background and development of the RESPECT training and some of the teaching materials used.

Click here for the original study protocol.