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Honoring Our Heroes: Mental Health First Aid Training  

1 December 2023

Programmed’s Recovery Work & Wellness Coordinator, Anita Teo-Tavita, recently trained 11 new Mental Health First Aiders from the Silverdale and Manly Fire Service. In acknowledging the incredible contributions of these volunteers, it’s worth noting that nearly 12,000 New Zealanders volunteer at Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ), with some being Programmed workers. Programmed is proud to have these volunteer Firefighters as part of its business. 

The safety, health, and wellbeing of our people are paramount, and FENZ’s mission to keep our communities safe aligns with our values of achieving zero harm in our workforce and the communities we engage with. 

Station Officer Silverdale Volunteer Fire Brigade, and Programmed Senior HSEQ Coordinator, Darren Hodgetts, expressed gratitude for the Mental Health First Aid course facilitated by Anita. He emphasised the course’s impact on psychosocial resilience in the emergency service sector, thanking Programmed for making this opportunity possible. 

Participants from diverse backgrounds openly shared how the course challenged them to consider vulnerabilities, recognise mental health challenges, and effectively support others. 

Anita’s engaging presentation style and credible materials left a lasting impression. Discussions are underway to bring the course to a national supermarket chain, and potential future opportunities with Assistant Area Commanders in the Waitemata District and Te Hiku Region. 

These Firefighters add value to our community and business. They bring additional diversity to our already diverse team, as well as valued transferrable skills that they learn while in the brigade. We are proud of our Firefighters and the work they do with not only our clients but the community and Fire and Emergency NZ too. We will continue to support the great work that these heroes do to keep our communities safe. 

The values of Fire and Emergency New Zealand align seamlessly with Programmed’s commitment to doing the right thing, serving and supporting, being better together, and striving for improvement. 

In Darren’s words, “He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.” 

A big thank you to Anita, Darren, and all Programmed team members for positively impacting mental health awareness and resilience in our community! 

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