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AFRF Interview Series

The AFRF has interviewed emergency first responders about their experiences, about what they have observed, and what works for them. Some have set up programmes to support first responders in their countries. We also talk with professional healthcare providers and workers in the field about the insights, methods and approaches they see that are working.

We hope you find them interesting and encourage you to reflect on what is said and how it applies to you. We also hope you might provide some feedback. Each interview is presented as a YouTube video. You can check out the Australian First Responder Foundation YouTube channel here.

AFRF Interview #1

Marie McLeod: Positive Psychology Practitioner and Coach

Wayde Walker: Emergency First Responder

The first in a series of interviews introducing people and topics of interest to raise awareness and promote the mental health and wellbeing of our emergency first responders. Created by our talented Dee Milenkovic

Tell your friends, family and colleagues. Thank you Marie and Wayde for your insights.

Marie McLeod and Wayde Walker interviewed by Dee Milenkovic

AFRF interview # 2

Greg Dean: Senior Sergeant (Victorian Police) and Churchill Fellow

This is the second interview in the series introducing people and topics of interest to raise awareness and promote the mental health and wellbeing of our emergency first responders. Created by our talented Dee Milenkovic

Tell your friends, family and colleagues. Thank you Greg for sharing your experiences and knowledge as a Senior Police Officer and leader on how to look after the mental health and wellbeing of first responders.

Greg Dean interviewed by Dee Milenkovic

AFRF Interview #3

Greg Mullins AO AFSM: Patron of AFRF, former NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner, serving volunteer RFS

This time we interview our Patron and former NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner Mr Greg Mullins (AO AFSM). Greg is interviewed by Marie McLeod. Marie explores Greg’s motivation for his support of the AFRF, his experiences in the service and the need to address mental health and wellbeing of first responders: how they cope or do not cope, and how to improve the ways in which the mental wellbeing can be addressed.

AFRF Interview #4

Dan Bowers (retired Detective Sergeant, Ontario Police Service) is interviewed by Marie McLeod (Positive Psychology Practitioner and Coach). Dan established the “First Eyes” program, a proactive family mental health program to support families impacted by PTSD. His honest and passionate approach to helping others has been driven by his lived experience and his desire to provide impactful interventions to those closest to those experiencing PTSD – their families. Dan’s commitment to peer support and early intervention are explained in this heart felt and enlightening discussion.

Greg Mullins interviewed by Marie McLeod
Dan Bowers interviewed by Marie McLeod

AFRF Interview #5

Syd Gravel operates in Canada, providing peer support training and services through First Eyes and founder of the Robin’s Blue Circle, a post-shooting trauma team of peers. He is an internationally recognised expert in peer support and highly respected by his peers in the field, with a number of publications to his credit. Syd develops and conducts peer support programs and groups with his colleagues. Here he is interviewed by Marie McLeod. Syd is one of our international collaborators, helping to review and direct the development of our courses. This interview provides an in-depth look into the experiences of Syd, providing invaluable insights. Please share amongst your friends and networks.

AFRF Interview #6

Grant Wargren, a senior volunteer with the Rural Fire Service for 45 years and the Vice President of the NSW Churchill Fellows Association is interviewed by Dee Milenkovic. Grant shares his experiences and passion with volunteering and provides insights into the changes to his role and the volunteering environment in his years of commitment to the Australian community.

AFRF Interview #7

Toby Cowern an international expert in wilderness survival and nature immersion is interviewed by Marie McLeod. Toby is based in Scandinavia and leads a busy life delivering wilderness and urban survival skills training, and coaching and conducting immersion camps and seminars aimed at stress management. The AFRF has relied on Toby’s expertise and experiences in helping guide the development of our FRESHER Retreat program for volunteer emergency first responders. The importance of building resilience through preparedness is foundational to the AFRF commitment to Australian emergency first responders.

AFRF Interview #8

Dr Erin Smith has extensive experience teaching and researching within the multidisciplinary fields of emergency and disaster response. She has recently commenced as the CEO at DART Centre Asia Pacific Monash University (a resource centre and global network of journalists, journalism educators and health professionals dedicated to improving media coverage of trauma, conflict and tragedy). Dr Smith is also a volunteer emergency first responder and brings her insight, knowledge and experiences to this informative interview by Marie McLeod (Positive Psychology practitioner and coach).

Syd Gravel interviewed by Marie McLeod
Grant Wargren interview with Dee Milenkovic
Toby Cowern interviewed by Marie McLeod
Dr Erin Smith interviewed by Marie McLeod


While that completes our current interview series – we hope to be able to produce more. You might also suggest who you might want to hear from or indicate what activities or techniques that you have heard about that we may be able to discuss and explain more fully. Use the AFRF Enquiry form to lodge a suggestion.

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