Thank a First Responder Day

Graphic: Thank a First Responder Day

Thank a First Responder Day

Date published

08 Jun 2022

To all first responders, we say thank you.

On 8 June, the RFDS is joining people around Australia to say thank you to the thousands of first responders who do so much for the communities in which we live, work and play.

From remote area nurses and official health service partners (SA Ambulance Service and St John Ambulance NT) to outback residents and workers, the RFDS relies heavily on first responders. Whether it’s a motor vehicle accident, someone having a heart attack, a significant farming injury, or a woman in premature labour.

If it wasn’t for the quick actions of first responders, RFDS patient Richard Hobbs may have lost his arm, and even his life.

Likewise, when another RFDS patient Phil Eley crashed his motorbike on the Birdsville Track, it was a group of locals and travellers who gave him the immediate support he needed to see it through.

We owe all first responders – who live, work and travel in the outback – a debt of gratitude for keeping friends, family and travellers safe.

On the other hand, we also understand that being first on the scene in an emergency can trigger a range of emotions and stress, be it immediate or delayed.

If you or someone you know needs help, the Flying Doctor is here to support people in trying times.

Thank a First Responder Day
Photo: From medical practitioners to outback residents and workers, the RFDS relies heavily on first responders.

RFDS Wellbeing & Mental Health Service

Our team provides culturally-appropriate emotional and wellbeing support to outback communities. Whether it means sharing a cuppa face-to-face, a phone call or a catch-up via video, you can choose to connect in a way that is most comfortable and convenient.

It may often seem easier not to seek help. Support services can seem too far away, or it can seem more convenient to tackle problems on your own.

But sometimes we all need a helping hand – to talk to someone, who will listen free of judgement with a caring ear. To Flying Doctor crews, no problem is too big or small to have a yarn about.

“As awareness about our Wellbeing and Mental Health team has grown, we’ve found that we’re servicing more communities and doing more clinics than ever,” RFDS Mental Health Service Manager, Justine Cooney said.

“We see people who live and work on stations and in remote communities, others who are passing through, and people who are part of Aboriginal communities.

“People often forget how important it is to maintain your own mental health and wellbeing when you’re living remotely, but it’s just as important, if not more important, than for those living in the city.”

RFDS Wellbeing & Mental Health team
Photo: RFDS Wellbeing & Mental Health Clinician, Niamh Gallagher, with mum Amy and her family.

How can I refer myself or someone I know?

If you, or someone you know needs help, the RFDS Wellbeing & Mental Health Service is available to adults and young people in remote South Australia. Self referrals are welcome and can be made via the RFDS Port Augusta Base on (08) 8648 9500, Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5:00pm.

For medical emergencies or 24/7 urgent mental health support in outback SA call 1800 RFDS SA (1800 733 772) and ask to speak with the on-call RFDS Doctor.