Tara Lal is a professional firefighter with Fire and Rescue NSW and a PhD candidate at the University of New England. She is the recipient of the Australian Rotary Health emergency services PhD Scholarship. Tara has her own lived experience of suicide personally and professionally as a firefighter. These experiences have driven her to her research which focusses on understanding the impact of exposure to suicide on firefighters. She is the internationally published author of ‘Standing on my Brother’s Shoulders – Making Peace with Grief and Suicide’ which tracks her own journey through bereavement by suicide and includes a guide to post traumatic growth.
Tara is a peer support officer for the Fire & Rescue NSW critical incident support team and has managed the organisations psychological wellbeing program. She is also a mental health first aid instructor facilitating courses for many emergency services. Tara has worked with researchers at the Black Dog Institute to develop programs aimed at building resilience and reducing the impact of trauma on firefighters’ mental health. She is also an ambassador for StandBy Support after Suicide and Fortem Australia. Tara is currently building collaborative partnerships and working to secure funding to develop suicide preparedness, prevention and postvention programs for firefighters based on her research findings.