The Board were very pleased to listen to Vince Pannell recently who leads the effort to organise the Heart 2 Heart Walk in recognition of the impacts on First Responder mental health and wellbeing of serving and retired (veteran) and families of First Responders.
This charity walk is to occur next year (July – September 2023) and will seek to gain commitment from the Federal Government to implement all 14 recommendations from the 2019 Australian Senate Inquiry: ‘The people behind 000: mental health of our first responders’, and specifically into First Responder Suicide, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Premature Mortality. The response from Government to date has been very disappointing
The AFRF is very supportive of these efforts and encourage others to support it as well. A little more information about this initiative is provided in the following, while here is a link to the Heart-2-Heart web page.
The Mission: The Walk
From the Lambert Centre of Australia (Heart of Country) to Australia’s Parliament House (Heart of Nation) – about 2,600 km.
Saturday 1st July 2023
Friday 29th Sept 2023
The Charity Walk will raise funds to:
- Obtain empirical evidence through the funding and commission of scientific and academic research into serving and retired First Responder mental health and wellbeing; and,
- Establish a National First Responder Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission to provide greater command, communication, coordination and leadership of effort, to complement the Defence and Veteran’s Suicide Commission.
Response of Government to the Inquiry
Over three years since the release of the Inquiry’s report, there has been little or no progress to any of the recommendations. The following is an external review of progress to date (now itself dated, but still relevant).
The AFRF are looking at ways we can support this effort – through public promotion, through providing some services to those on the route, encouraging our supporters, and our community of first responders to participate.
You can make your own contribution. Please refer to the Heart-2-Heart web site to make contact directly.