THE legacy of a late Wimmera man is living on through the launch of a mental health app bearing his name.
Former Horsham man Adrian Newton developed the concept for the Let Me Know app while working as a Metropolitan Fire Brigade firefighter.
Mr Newton died at age 42 in May 2016 when his motorcycle crashed into a truck while he was holidaying in Bali.
His colleagues banded together to continue his work, and make his dream of creating an emergency services mental health mobile phone app a reality.
The app – which is free for all current and retired Victorian firefighters and their families – is designed as a private tool to help people record their exposures and reactions to stress and trauma in their jobs.
The app incorporates built-in ‘trigger points’, and sends an alert to a user to make a self-assessment or seek support once a trigger is hit. It also offers guidance about well-being, and how to access support.
Let Me Know launched on Tuesday, with Mr Newton’s family present.
Mr Newton’s mother Lenda Newton said her son would have been so excited to see the app’s success.
“I am so proud of how the Let Me Know committee followed through with his work to make his legacy live on,” she said.
“The committee worked tirelessly and selflessly, always giving Adrian the honour in regard to the app. Although he initiated it, the committee followed through.
“We just feel so privileged that the committee thought enough of Adrian to put in this amazing amount of work.
“Adrian's fireman's number will be on every MFB helmet, along with the Let Me Know stickers.
“His legacy will really outlive us.”
Mr Newton attended Horsham Primary School and what is now Horsham College.
His father Les is a policeman based at Nhill.
Ms Newton said their son was larger than life.
“One of his many sayings was, ‘Get outside and live’,” she said.
“He was also very much a global citizen, travelling and working overseas.
“He loved his job and loved his colleagues, and felt very strongly about the high risks it involved. He had been to several suicides of colleagues. He said, 'We've got to do something to stop this'.
“He was always trying to help others in any way he could.”
Ms Newton said the Australian Defence Force was in discussions to adopt the app, along with health services.
“Its potential is huge,” she said.
“It is amazing what one man with one idea can do.
“To see the impact of this app and the number of other emergency services that will be adopting it just feels surreal.
“We're very humbled by what the committee has done. The calibre of Adrian's friends and colleagues is supreme.”
Let Me Know committee chairman Nathaniel O’Brien said regular attendance at emergency incidents could have a cumulative effect on first responders.
“MFB’s support services are world-leading, but it can be hard for people to take that first step and talk to someone about how they’re feeling and, over time, issues can build up,” he said.
“With this app we wanted to catch the people that don’t put their hands up.”
- If you, or someone you know, needs help phone Lifeline on 13 14 11; MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78; or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
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