A one-stop support network across all Australian emergency groups has been raised as a way to tackle the high rates of suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder in the sector.
Veronique Moseley and Ross Beckley, founders of awareness organisation Behind The Seen, said at the moment resources were divided among the various police, fire, ambulance, rescue, paid and volunteer bodies.
"We need all of them to come together in some way and have, ideally, one place where all first responders and family members can go for support," Ms Moseley said in Albury on Tuesday.
"If someone in Northern Territory is suffering with mental health problems and someone in South Australia, they should be getting the same level of treatment," Mr Beckley added.
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State Emergency Service peer support volunteer Ian Sheldrick, of Benalla, agreed with the need for continuity of care among emergency service workers.
"We've all got something in common and I think a common network would be a really good idea across agencies, regardless of paid or not," he said.
Mr Beckley began Behind The Seen partly to "talk about my journey and what I didn't do and encourage people not to do what I did".
A firefighter for 21 years, Mr Beckley said nothing was taught about maintaining mental health when he joined the service.
"I've been medically discharged now with post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as my other captain as well as our other deputy captain, so three officers from one brigade all with the same injury," he said.
He and Ms Moseley, a social worker, talk regularly with groups of first responders to increase knowledge about the effects of incident and career specific stress.
"If you went to a bad job on the highway, go and talk to someone about it, talk to your GP, talk to your mate, go and get a mental health assessment and get on the road to recovery, don't lose your career like I did," Mr Beckley said.
Ms Moseley said part of prevention was helping family members to look out for possible symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress.
Ms Moseley said they were happy with the inquiry's recommendations but hoped they would be followed up by actions.
"From a big picture perspective it's got to go all the way up to government, through the suicide prevention sector, the mental health sector, all the emergency service organisations up to state and federal government," she said.
Tallangatta SES volunteer Melanie Bonanno, who joined a year ago, has been touched by a story her mother, a longtime SES member, tells about a big incident.
"How everybody came together and they sat around a candle and talked and it helped without feeling ashamed of feeling what they felt," Ms Bonanno said.
If you or somebody you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
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