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Jules, one of our Blue Light Champions, has played a big part in making sure the Mind Blue Light Programme continues to make a difference for colleagues she works with at the London Ambulance Service. We asked Jules to share some of her experiences in the introduction to our latest annual review, which she shares here.
Mind set up the Blue Light Programme to reduce stigma, promote wellbeing and improve mental health support across the ambulance, fire, police and search and rescue services. When the programme launched, I’d just returned to my job following a period of time off for spinal surgery. I’d had similar surgery many years earlier and fallen into a terrible depression afterwards. When I first heard about the Blue Light Programme, I felt almost a responsibility to share my experience, and from that day forward I’ve done everything I can to be there for anyone who is having difficulty in dealing with their own emotions or situations.
I think what the Blue Light Programme has done more than anything is let people know it’s OK to share their experiences
As a Blue Light Champion, I now share information about mental health and mental health support with colleagues across the whole organisation. I also encourage people to speak to someone – whether that’s me or someone involved in our support networks – about anything that may impact on them delivering their role in the ambulance service. I’ve spoken at events too, and helped introduce mental health awareness training at work.
I think what the Blue Light Programme has done more than anything is let people know it’s OK to share their experiences and admit this can be a tough role. I’ve had very senior colleagues in our organisation approach me to say how much easier their own conversations have been since Blue Light started. I’ve had someone I work closely with come to me and say, ‘I don’t know who else to turn to, but I just can’t cope’.
We can’t take the stress out of this job we choose to do, but we can let people know that they’re not alone
There is a new openness around mental health, and that’s come about because of the Blue Light Programme and because people threw themselves into supporting it.
We can’t take the stress out of this job we choose to do, but we can let people know that they’re not alone. That’s a big step forward and I’m proud to be part of it – and proud to work alongside Mind as it achieves all of the progress described in this year’s review. I hope you find it an inspiring read.
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We'll fight your corner. We believe everyone with a mental health problem should be able to access excellent care and services. We also believe you should be treated fairly, positively and with respect.
Blogs and stories can show that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood and listened to. We can use it to challenge the status quo and change attitudes.