With surf lifeguards responding to a greater number of serious incidents, peer support has become a major focus for the organisation.
There are five local peer support networks in Northern Region: Northland, Rodney, East Coast Auckland, West Coast Auckland and West Coast Waikato. Each of these networks has a team of trained Peer Supporters who can be tasked by SurfCom to attend debriefs and support lifeguards who’ve been involved in a traumatic or stressful incident e.g. a body recovery.
This may include providing initial support to members, assisting members to understand the impact of a stressful event, help in the organizing of formal psychological debriefing and educating members on stress reactions and natural coping mechanisms.
What is Peer Support about?
Peer Support is one option within a wider Membership Welfare Program that Surf Life Saving offers.
If you notice a friend or find yourself feeling or experiencing any of the following, please don't hesitate to utilise one of the support options available.
- Feeling withdrawn or agitated
- Re-experiencing the event/bad dreams
- Feeling overly emotional
- Avoiding normal daily tasks/interactions
Becoming a Peer Supporter
SLSNR's aim is to have at least one refreshed Peer Supporter available per club, this means that those clubs or local areas with fewer peer supporters will be prioritised.
Peer Supporters are endorsed by their Surf Club and undertake training before starting the role. At times Peer Supporters may be tasked to critical Incidents involving members who are experiencing a range of differing reactions to traumatic events.
It is important that all Peer Supporters have the necessary prerequisites and training to ensure proper and effective support can be provided.
Prerequisites for this role:
- 20 years of age
- Restricted Motor Vehicle License
- SLS Member
- Club endorsement
- Endorsement by local peer support network
- SLS understanding
- Good lifesaving knowledge
Note: SLSNR reserves the right to accept members into the Peer Support program at their discretion