Paramedics at the Maryborough Ambulance Station enjoyed a special visit from a furry friend last week.
Bruce the peer support dog, along with handler and peer responder Ken Whittle, visited the Maryborough branch for the first time last Thursday, much to the delight of local paramedics.
Ambulance Victoria’s Peer Support Dog Program is the first of its kind for an Australian ambulance service and Bruce’s job is to visit paramedics and staff to improve and strengthen the mental health and wellbeing of Ambulance Victoria’s workforce.
According to Ambulance Victoria, people who work in emergency services have reported higher levels of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, stress and fatigue.
As one of the program’s first support dogs, Bruce has been providing support since May 2018 and has made a big difference to the lives of paramedics by helping them cope with the traumatic, confronting and life-threatening emergencies they regularly encounter.
Maryborough Ambulance Station acting team manager Mark Passalick said the visit came at a good time for paramedics.
“It’s been a busy month, we’ve had more jobs and more significant jobs, which are high trauma jobs that can impact mental health,” he said.
“The guys are all a bit weary so when I found out the peer support dog was coming up this way everyone was really excited, their faces lit up when I told them.”
For more on this story see Page of The Advertiser, Tuesday, April 9