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Insight Conversations

Insight, information and perspectives on mental health and wellbeing issues in the emergency services sector
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The impacts of COVID-19 on workplace mental health of emergency frontline staff:
lessons learnt for effective leadership

Thursday 10 June | 11:00AM

Charles Sturt University Workforce Wellness Research Unit recently undertook a federally funded study to understand the impact of COVID-19 on frontline staff. 


The delivery of essential frontline services in times of crisis or major disruption presents major challenges to ‘on the ground’ staff.  This research project investigated the nature of these challenges and the role of leadership in supporting staff in times of major service disruptions. The project sought to:

  • Identify the nature and extent of work stressors associated with COVID

  • Measure levels of employee workplace distress and anxiety

  • Distil characteristics of good leadership – against crisis leadership theory.


Whilst the study has a strong NSW focus the results provide important insights for Victorian agencies .

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Meet our Speakers

Professor Russell Roberts, Associate Professor Larissa Bamberry, and Dr Stacey Jenkins are all members of the Charles Sturt University (CSU) Workplace Wellness Research Unit which offers a comprehensive suite of expertise in research, education, policy advice and effective interventions designed to enhance the wellness and productivity of organisations. 

The project they are presenting on investigated the impact of COVID-19 on police and paramedics from across Australia as well as child protection and health workers. 

Issues such as levels of stress, depression, anxiety and workplace burnout were investigated via a survey. Potential contributors to workplace wellbeing during COVID-19 was also explored with issues such a family circumstances, workplace consultation and communication and support offered by peers, workmates, family and friends explored. 

Professor Roberts was the Chief Investigator who oversaw the project, Associate Professor Bamberry took primary responsibility for coding and analysing the qualitative data collected via the survey instrument, which Dr Jenkins played a key role in designing, using Qualtrics software, and she also aided in analysing the quantitative and qualitative data.  

For any questions on this event, or regarding Emergency Services Foundation please contact

Siusan MacKenzie at smackenzie@esf.com.au

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