Blue Light Programme - creating lasting change in 999 services

The Blue Light Programme launched in March 2015. It was designed to support the people who serve in our police, search and rescue (SAR), fire and ambulance services in England.

We received more Libor funding in November 2016 to enable the programme to continue until March 2018. Find out more about our future plans, the impact of our work so far and the actions your service can take to help create lasting change in the emergency services on this page.

Our future plans

We received more Libor funding in November 2016 to enable the programme to continue until March 2018. The funding will enable us to continue delivering the programme for 999 staff and volunteers in England, in partnership with the emergency services themselves, but will also enable this much-needed support to be made available in Wales from early 2017.

The funding will also enable us to:

  • extend our local Blue Light Mental Health Networks to provide targeted support for 999 call-handlers, to support staff welfare and develop their mental health skills across England and Wales
  • scope the needs and options for delivering mental health and wellbeing support to accident and emergency (A&E) workers within England and Wales including doctors, consultants, nurses and security staff. We will build on A&E research by organisations including ESRO and make recommendations for service delivery in this emergency service workplace
  • develop and deliver mental health support within the learning and development pathway of new recruits within England and Wales
  • continue working together closely with local Minds to develop local networks and deliver mental health support to 999 services across England and Wales
  • research how the Blue Light Programme can potentially impact on the way emergency service employees and volunteers interact with members of the public.

Stakeholders from across the four emergency services in England and Wales, local Mind programme partners and people with lived experience of mental health problems have been consulted and engaged in the development plans for this work, which build on our current activity for 2016 to 17.

Our future plans

Our impact so far

As a pilot programme, we closely evaluated our work over the first year from March 2015 to March 2016. The key findings are available to share in this report.

It shows that thousands of staff and volunteers across services have actively challenged mental health stigma, learnt more about mental health, and have improved their wellbeing with the support of the Blue Light Programme.

But the report also shows that many people and organisations are only at the start of their journey. There are still high levels of stigma within many organisations and low levels of awareness of the mental health support and information available amongst those who are not closely involved in the programme. We used the evaluation findings to develop our plans for activity in 2016 to 17.

Read the report

Take our 10 actions for emergency services

We recognise the excellent work already being done by a number of services and organisations, on both a local and national level. But the evaluation shows there is still a long way to go to create lasting change across the sector.

So we call on emergency service organisations to take 10 actions based on our evaluation findings, to show their commitment to better mental health and help us to bring about sustained change together.

  1. Sign the Blue Light Time to Change pledge if you haven’t yet or order our pack for SAR organisations.
  2. Show the support from your senior managers.
  3. Take action internally to show your support.
  4. Communicate the actions you take internally.
  5. Generate change face to face.
  6. Promote the Blue Light Infoline.
  7. Keep mental health on the agenda.
  8. Actively challenge your self-stigma.
  9. Give workplace Champions the support they need.
  10. Make our line manager training mandatory.

Read the 10 actions in full here.

Please keep the Blue Light Programme going. It's our emergency service. Blue Light Champion

10 actions for Mind

Mind are committed to take 10 actions based on the evaluation findings to refine the support we provide and to raise further awareness of our work – we won’t give up until there is support and respect for the mental health of everyone within the emergency services in both England and Wales. We will:

  1. support services to improve their internal communications
  2. provide guidance on recruiting and supporting your own mental health Champions
  3. make the line managers training course available to all services
  4. make our webinar films more accessible
  5. invest in redeveloping and testing the resilience course
  6. support organisations to better promote the Infoline to your staff
  7. work together with associations to promote the Infoline
  8. provide guidance on supporting peer supporters and share best practice
  9. work together with emergency services and associations to get more funding for mental health support to continue beyond 2017
  10. develop ways that emergency service staff and volunteers in Wales can benefit from Mind’s specialist, independent mental health services.
Read the 10 actions in full

Read the full reports

You can read the full evaluation reports for each area of work here along with the full findings from our initial scoping research.

Read the full reports

#ourbluelight - our emergency services deserve lasting support

In this short film Becky, Esmail, Lorna and Simon share how the Blue Light Programme has had a positive impact for them and their services and why they need support to continue long-term.

Help to create lasting change in our emergency services - share our film with your 999 friends using #ourbluelight.

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