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Fire service signs up to mental health anti-stigma pledge

Peter Dartford

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has shown its commitment to ending mental health discrimination in the workplace by signing the Blue Light Time To Change Pledge. Blue Light Time To Change Pledge.

The signing ceremony took place on 4th November, and representatives from the Service pledged their support to the Blue Light Programme, promoting a better understanding of mental health problems while offering support and well-being advice to their staff and volunteers.

Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford said:  “Statistics show that in any given year, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem. Firefighters can often find themselves in some very challenging situations and the impact upon crews cannot be underestimated.  It is vital for those who work in the emergency services to look after their mental health, and for us as an organisation to support them in this.”

In Staffordshire, the Service has already launched a number of health initiatives in partnership with Age UK, Public Health England and local Health and Wellbeing Boards in a bid to keep local communities as safe as possible.  The Blue Light Time To Change Pledge supports the long-term message that prevention is always better than cure.

Signing the Pledge demonstrates the Service’s commitment to challenge the stigma attached to mental health, and to promote positive health and wellbeing in the workplace.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue joins the wide movement of emergency service employers and associations that have pledged to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination, including Derbyshire Fire and Rescue, Kent Fire and Rescue, Kent Police, Leicestershire Police, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said:  “Not only are many of our blue light personnel struggling with their mental health, but they are less likely to seek support or take time off sick than the general workforce.  Good mental health should be a priority in any workplace, but it is especially important that people exposed to traumatic life-threatening situations – such as those working within the police, ambulance, fire and search and rescue services – receive appropriate support.  By signing the Blue Light Time To Change Pledge, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue is helping to fight stigma and promote positive mental health in emergency services.”

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