Search and rescue - how to manage your mental wellbeing

Explains how to manage mental wellbeing if you work or volunteer in the search and rescue service, including how to build resilience and where to go for support.

Your stories

What is mental health and mental wellbeing?

Taryn blogs about mental health and wellbeing. What do they mean to you?

Taryn Ozorio
Posted on 24/01/2011

About mental wellbeing

What is mental wellbeing?

Mental wellbeing describes your mental state – how you are feeling and how well you can cope with day-to-day life. Our mental wellbeing can change, from day to day, month to month or year to year.

If you have good mental wellbeing (or good mental health), you are able to:

  • feel relatively confident in yourself – you value and accept yourself and judge yourself on realistic and reasonable standards
  • feel and express a range of emotions
  • feel engaged with the world around you – you can build and maintain positive relationships with other people and feel you can contribute to the community you live in
  • live and work productively
  • cope with the stresses of daily life and manage times of change and uncertainty

Mental wellbeing is just as important as physical wellbeing, and you need to maintain both in order to stay fit and healthy.

If you work or volunteer for the search and rescue service, it's especially important for you to look after your mental wellbeing.

Our research shows:

  • Emergency services personnel are more likely to experience a mental health problem than the general workforce, but you are less likely to take time of work as a result.
  • Almost 9 out of 10 of you say you've experienced stress and poor mental health while working for emergency services.
  • You hard to prevent mental health problems affecting your performance at work, but this can come at a large personal cost, impacting relationships and physical health.

What can affect my mental wellbeing?

We all have times when we have low mental wellbeing – when we feel sad or stressed, or find it difficult to cope.

If you work or volunteer in the search and rescue service, your mental wellbeing can be affected by factors like:

  • exposure to traumatic events
  • unpredictable work hours
  • working in high pressure situations

We train regularly together and attend call outs at all times of the day and night. Everyone is a volunteer and so therefore has other jobs too.

Your mental wellbeing can also be affected by other things in your life, for example, if you:

  • suffer some sort of loss
  • experience loneliness
  • have relationships problems
  • are worried about work or money

Sometimes, there is no clear reason why we experience a period of poor mental health.

Staying mentally well

It's important to look after your mental wellbeing on a day-to-day basis, and not just after experiencing big, traumatic events. Staying mentally well by building resilience can reduce your chances of developing mental health problems like depression, anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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