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Post Incident Support for mountain rescue volunteers in Scotland following a traumatic event

Post Incident Support for mountain rescue volunteers in Scotland following a traumatic event

18th June, 2024

Scottish Mountain Rescue has many years of experience in terms of pre-incident and informal peer support for volunteer responders and our focus on wellbeing for volunteer responders. We have a Wellbeing Officer who has been in post since 2018. We also have a wellbeing working group, which is made up of volunteers from across Mountain Rescue including the SMR Medical Officer.

The wellbeing working group have set up a package of support that is available to volunteers and their families to ensure that they are supported in their roles. Since 2016, this has been shaped by our association with the Lifelines Scotland project. This package includes a ‘Welcome to the team’ booklet, which tells family members what to expect from volunteering. It also includes promotion and understanding of the Lifelines Scotland project and resources. We have negotiated access to an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) made available to mountain rescue volunteers by Police Scotland and set up a benevolent scheme to help mountain rescue volunteers in times of need.  

Scottish Mountain Rescue also provides learning opportunities throughout the year in volunteer wellbeing,  Mental Health First Aid, and Lifelines training sessions. These courses build understanding and confidence in self-care and supporting colleagues.  

SMR are finalising an agreement with the Rivers Centre for Traumatic Stress which will cover the provision of Post Trauma Support to volunteers and staff.  The Rivers Centre has well over 20 years of experience of working directly with the emergency service community in Scotland.  This agreement will complement and build on the current support that is available through the Police Scotland Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).  We will be running a two-year pilot project starting in July that is open to all mountain rescue volunteers in Scotland.  The process is based on what we do before, during and after potentially traumatic events.

We look forward to this partnership with the Rivers Centre and expanding our wellbeing support available for teams.

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