ECHO - NOVA
Professionals who work in the emergency medical field work in a fast paced environment that is stressful and often dangerous. Apart from exposure to trauma on a daily basis, our paramedics (all levels) are falling victim to serious and violent crimes while on duty.
Over time, this kind of work environment may have adverse effects on the mental health of Emergency Medical Service professionals and the prevalence rate of diagniosable Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among this group of professionals is estimated at 14.6%. These professionals are at risk for burnout, anxiety, depression and suicide. In South Africa there are over 70 000 Emergency Care practitioners (not including nurses and doctors working in an emergency department).
They are always ready to save our lives, but, who takes care of them?
ECHO - NOVA (The Emergency Counselling and Mental Health Organisation - New Beginnings) is a Non-Profit Organisation established in response to the need for awareness as well as effective, accessible and appropriate mental health care for Emergency Medical Service (EMS) professionals. We aim to improve the psycho-social wellness of EMS professionals and, to minimise the negative impact of repeated exposure to trauma, in order for them to function optimally.
Our objectives comprise 4 focus areas: knowledge, awareness, resilience and support.
By conducting and promoting research, we will be able to expand the existing body of knowledge on EMS mental health issues and their needs and, provide appropriate and effective services. Through raising awareness and providing training to paramedics and EMS professionals including doctors and nurses, we aim to improve social support and also increase resilience. Finally we aim to provide appropriate, effective and accessible mental health care services to EMS professionals.