Poodle raises awareness of good mental health


Bass Coast Health (BCH) staff were so pleased to be visited by Ambulance Victoria’s Peer Support Dog Program recently, raising awareness of good mental health among Paramedics and its workforce.

A trained dog, Anna, and her Peer Support Handler Jenny Lonsdale, visited the Ambulance Bay of the Emergency Department at Wonthaggi Hospital to meet local Paramedics and talk about the value of good mental health.

“Anna helps to reduce the stress faced by Paramedics during their work. When the Paramedics see the Peer Support Dog, conversations about good mental health come to the front of their minds,” Jenny said.

Ambulance Victoria is one of the first ambulance services in Australia to introduce a Peer Support Dog Program into its Wellbeing and Support structure.

“We are committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our workforce. Having a Peer Support Dog present when our Peer Support Handlers are out on visits can be a great conversation starter and help make people feel at ease, which often aids with the breakdown of the stigma surrounding seeking support,” Jenny said.

With October being Mental Health Month, BCH CEO Jan Child welcomed the visit.

“Healthcare staff frequently face challenging scenarios and stressful situations in their day-to-day work and this is a wonderful way to encourage staff to talk to each other and support each other.