It’s been a devastating summer for Australia’s firefighters. For the past few months, they’ve been on the frontline of some of the most horrific bushfires Australia has ever seen. Burning approximately 18.6 million hectares, destroying 5,900 buildings and leaving 34 people dead, there’s no question that our fireys have seen some catastrophic scenes.
Sadly, first responders are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health condition than the rest of the population. In fact, every 4.3 weeks a first responder – be it a firefighter, police officer or paramedic – dies by suicide. Over exposure to natural disasters or scenes threatening to cause injury or loss of life can leave a first responder with severe stress and mental trauma.
For some, these conditions may occur immediately. But our fireys have had to brave the worst and continue on with their jobs. It’s likely they’re exhausted, which can contribute to mental strain.
On average, 10% of emergency services employees have probable PTSD compared to 4% of the general population. But that’s just when it’s ‘business as usual.’ In light of the recent (and sadly still ongoing) bushfires across Australia, it’s very possible that after this summer our fireys may be suffering from anxiety, depression and even PTSD.
How can WKB Lawyers help?
At WKB, our team is committed to assisting Australia’s brave and dedicated firefighters who strive to protect our communities in the face of danger. If a first responder is suffering from depression, anxiety or PTSD and returning to work is out of the question, they may be able to bring a TPD claim and receive a payout. WKB Lawyers are experts in making TPD claims and can assist you in navigating the complexities of doing so. We also appreciate that it may be difficult for you to ask for help, and approach each case with empathy.
What do firefighters suffering from mental illness need to show?
TPD claims require you to demonstrate that you are unable to work and that your illness, injury, or condition is the underlying cause of your inability to work. However, because depression, anxiety and PTSD are psychological injuries rather than physical injuries, the process becomes more complicated. Luckily, WKB lawyers has broad expertise in this area.
When making a TPD claim, mental health TPD claimants are held to a higher standard of proof. Though the claims tend to be complicated, many who have received regular treatment from their GP, a psychologist, and/or a psychiatrist will be successful in providing the requisite evidence needed to support a TPD claim. If you’re uncertain whether you have the requisite evidence to support a TPD claim, contact WKB Lawyers on 1800 865 225.
What about the volunteers?
Volunteer firefighters make up a huge portion of our firies. We owe a great deal of gratitude to the volunteers who have bravely battled against the bushfires. If a volunteer firefighter has been injured (physically or mentally) and is unable to return to work, they may make a TPD claim also.
At WKB, our team is committed to assisting Australia’s brave and dedicated firefighters who strive to protect our communities in the face of danger. If a firey is suffering from depression, anxiety or PTSD (or a related mental or physical illness) and returning to work is out of the question, they may be able to bring a TPD claim and receive a payout. Of course, this is always dependent on their individual circumstances, so we recommend contacting us on 1800 865 225 for advice tailored to your situation. We offer a no win, no fee guarantee if we take your claim on.
We also recommend you read our previous articles that outline which psychological conditions a TPD claim is commonly brought for, and support services for first responders suffering from mental illness. These can be found here:
Stress, anxiety and psychiatric illness – When returning to work is out of the question