11 September 2023

Special delivery scheduled as support unit for emergency service workers heads to Wagga

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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two women and a van

Retired NSW police officers and founders of Emerge & See, Pia Schindler and Alana Singleton. Photo: Supplied.

A peer-led support service van for emergency service workers will be in Wagga this week to hold workshops with the Pro Patria Centre.

Emerge & See is a charity founded by two medically retired NSW police officers, Alana Singleton and Pia Schindler, and offers emergency service workers (paid, volunteer and retired) in NSW and ACT free independent and confidential peer-led guidance and support with a focus on legal, medical, wellbeing and financial aid.

During its week in Wagga, Emerge & See will help run a Mental Health First Aid Certificate course and connection activities, lead a professional development masterclass for treatment providers, and host a fundraising community trivia night.

Ms Singleton said running the Sydney-based charity made her realise how under-resourced and supported regional NSW emergency service workers were.

“We recently secured a van that will ensure we can go out to provide our services across the regional areas, and our first trip is into the Riverina,” she said.

“[The Riverina] is a highly populated area with emergency service workers.

“We’ll take the van out, do some coffees and peer-led catch-ups with our retired emergency service workers, and do some wellbeing activities.”

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Ms Singleton said there was a dire need to provide independent, confidential and free support to emergency service workers.

“It’s a big ethos for us that emergency service workers need to feel that there’s an organisation aligned with their outcomes, focusing on their injury and their needs in recovery,” she said.

The van is being introduced to help address the discrepancy in access to mental health support and resources in regional and remote areas of NSW. It will travel across NSW regularly to provide emergency service workers in remote and regional areas, and their families, with education and empowerment sessions and access to professional support such as psychologists, wellbeing providers and financial advisers.

Emerge & See will provide lived and living experience professional development masterclasses for treatment providers working with emergency service workers.

Community-based activities will encourage unity and empowerment, and help ensure ongoing connectedness. The charity will set up permanent Connect Hubs in the areas it visits, which will be regular places for emergency service workers to access peer support, connection and wellbeing activities.

The van will also be deployed to safely deliver critical-incident response support to emergency service workers and NSW communities experiencing critical-incident situations.

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Emerge & See Wagga itinerary:

Monday, 11 September, from 6 pm – 8:30 pm:

  • Professional development lived experience masterclass for treatment providers at Pro Patria Centre. Registration link.

Tuesday, 12 September, from 9:30 am – 11:30 am:

  • Member event with Connect Van and connection activities at Pro Patria Centre.

Wednesday and Thursday, 13-14 September, 8:30 am – 5 pm (both days):

  • Mental Health First Aid Certificate course and Connect Van at Pro Patria Centre. Registration link.

Thursday, 14 September, from 8 pm – 10 pm:

  • Community Trivia Night at Wagga Wagga Boat Club. Supporting Heart 2 Heart. Registration link.

Friday and Saturday, 15-16 September, 7 am – 5 pm:

  • Emerge & See co-founders and members will participate in the Heart 2 Heart Walk, travelling through Wagga Wagga and into Junee, raising awareness of emergency service mental health, highlighted in the 2019 Senate inquiry.
  • Emerge & See will also support the walk with the Connect Van. Anyone wanting to register to join can do so here.

Click here to learn more about Emerge & See and download its app.

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