Forgotten first responders: Australian surf lifesavers and lifeguards

Samantha Fien, Jasmin C. Lawes, Ian de Terte, Pamela Simon, Nancy Joseph, Shane Daw, Murray Drummond, Talitha Best, Robert Stanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


First responders often face traumatic and emotionally-taxing incidents in their role. Understanding their mental health and coping capacity is important for wellbeing and continued service delivery. Surf lifesavers and lifeguards are an under researched yet a vital part of the first responder workforce. The recent Senate Report on first responders explored mental health in the leading emergency services personnel in Australia and found a high incidence of mental health difficulties in those who worked or volunteered as emergency responders. However, a significant literature gap exists regarding mental health of surf lifesavers and lifeguards in both the international and Australian context. Here we propose a strategy to address this gap, at the individual, organisational and community level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)572-574
Number of pages3
JournalEMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia
Issue number3
Early online date2 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • emergency responder
  • lifeguard
  • lifesaver
  • mental health
  • volunteer


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