On 10 March Inspector-General Tony Pearce left Melbourne's State Control Centre, taking the first step towards Tony's Trek (External link) - a journey of 50 days and 1500 kilometres to support mental wellbeing in the emergency management sector.
A message from Tony
My volunteer role as Emergency Services Foundation Chair is a profoundly personal one as I have been in the sector for almost forty years. In that time I’ve seen many of my colleagues suffer from trauma due to their role in emergency services/management. This trauma can often result in mental health injury and have lasting impacts throughout their career and retirement.
In supporting ESF’s work in improving mental health outcomes for Victoria’s 139,000 emergency workers, both paid and volunteer, in frontline and support roles, I'm undertaking a solo ultra-distance walk to raise awareness of the work we do. We need to acknowledge the urgency of supporting those who support us.
On 10 March 2023, I'll start my journey in East Melbourne at the State Control Centre, and over the 50 days, I’ll cover 1500 kilometres. My route has been specifically chosen to cover much of the area where the 2019-20 Victorian Black Summer Bushfires occurred. I hope this will acknowledge the horrible mental health impacts those fires had and continue to have on emergency workers, along with the community members themselves of these areas.
For me, it will be one step at a time to achieve this goal and personal physical feat. Recovery from mental health injury is also a personal journey that involves taking one step at a time.