Local police put mental health on frontline in ride from Northam to Albany


Snr Const Jim Leighton-Jones, Corey Gaidzionis, Snr Const Rob Seaman and Snr Const Jason Barnes.  Picture: Marie Nirme        d468578
Snr Const Jim Leighton-Jones, Corey Gaidzionis, Snr Const Rob Seaman and Snr Const Jason Barnes. Picture: Marie Nirme        d468578

A QUARTET on two wheels will pedal their way from Northam to Albany this week, all to create awareness among emergency services workers about the need for a proactive approach to mental health.

Beeliar’s Jason Barnes said the idea for the 450km trip was fleshed out after being put forward by friend and Bedfordale resident Rob Seaman 12 months ago.

Together the pair has more than 40 years experience with WA Police.

The four riders taking part in the journey plan to meet with police officers, firefighters and other emergency service personnel along the way to raise awareness of mental health.

Mr Barnes said emergency service workers, particularly those in isolated communities, needed to know there is help available to them.

“We need them to know that while they might be more isolated, because they are away from the metro area, they are not forgotten and are not alone,” he said. “It’s all about having a chat. If there are issues or questions, we can provide support and point them in the right direction.”

The ride, which kicked off in Northam on Monday, is supported by Alongside, which provides education programs and support for partners and families of those in defence and emergency services positions.

“We know strong relationships are the strongest protective factor in the early intervention and prevention of mental injuries on the frontline,” Alongside co-founder Sarah Yates said.

“We ask our frontline to run towards (danger) when everyone else is running away but what we forget is they have loved ones at home too and they are the people that provide support for the people who keep us safe.”

For information, visit www.alongside.org.au.