for better mental health

About the Blue Light Programme

We know that emergency responders have faced additional challenges to their mental health as a result of the pandemic and we want to make sure everyone working in the ambulance, police or fire services has access to advice and support.

Our Blue Light Programme is here to support the mental health of emergency responders in England and Wales. Building on our 4 years of experience supporting the mental health of emergency responders, we will provide information and support throughout the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

The latest programme will launch in April 2021. If you need help to manage your mental health now, Our Frontline provides round‐the‐clock support. You can also find advice and information at mind.org.uk/bluelight

What will the programme achieve?

Funded by the Royal Foundation, we will be working with the emergency services community, including The Ambulance Staff Charity, Police Care UK and The Fire Fighters Charity to ensure emergency responders have access to high quality mental health resources and training for emergency responders to challenge stigma and improve their wellbeing.

Our Blue Light Programme will also work with emergency responders to challenge media and public attitudes about the work of emergency responders during the pandemic.

Image credit: West Midlands Police

Image credit: West Midlands Police

Our core activities 

Together with the emergency services community, we will:

  • launch a range of information resources that provide advice and support to emergency responders during the pandemic
  • develop toolkits for both line managers services and Blue Light Champions, to help them raise awareness and challenge stigma around mental health in the emergency services
  • share the stories of emergency responders who have been affected by the pandemic
  • share best practice case studies with tips and advice for supporting colleagues during the pandemic and beyond
  • work with Local Minds to deliver over 60 training sessions to line managers and Blue Light Champions
  • work with senior leaders to support employee mental health
  • help emergency responders to feel comfortable and confident to speak out and seek support.
Image credit: London Ambulance Service

Image credit: London Ambulance Service

Our research

We've been listening to the experiences of emergency responders and how the pandemic has affected their mental health. The experiences shared will offer key recommendations for employers when planning mental health and wellbeing support and will help us to develop new resources to support emergency responders now and into the future.

Our findings will be available in April 2021 at mind.org.uk/bluelight

Our funding

The Blue Light Programme is funded by the Royal Foundation. The Foundation have a long history of raising awareness of mental health and have played a leading role in supporting the emergency services.

We'll be sharing information about how staff, volunteers and employers in the emergency services can get involved in the programme via our monthly newsletter. To subscribe to the newsletter, raise a query or share feedback about the programme, please contact us at [email protected]

Blue Light Programme 2015 2019

During these four years, we worked with partners to deliver an ambitious and comprehensive programme of activity aimed at reducing stigma, promoting wellbeing and improving mental health support for those working or volunteering in ambulance, fire, police, and search and rescue services.

Thousands of staff and volunteers across the emergency services actively challenged stigma, learned more about mental health and made positive changes in their approach to supporting the wellbeing of themselves and others.

Our reach

  • 100+ emergency services and support organisations signed the Blue Light Time to Change pledge, committing to practical action to tackle mental health stigma.
  • 3,000 Blue Light Champions registered – staff and volunteers who take positive action at work to raise awareness and challenge the way people think and act on mental health.
  • 400 peer supporters were empowered through training to share their personal lived experiences to help colleagues and signpost to support.
  • 9,000 line managers, team leaders and pastoral staff were trained in managing mental health in the emergency services.
  • 9,000+ calls were made to our Blue Light Infoline, which provided emergency services staff, volunteers and their families with personalised information and support.

627,000+ views of our webpages

360,000+ printed booklets distributed

46,000+ resource downloads

Evaluation and next steps

Our end-of-programme survey in 2019 showed a range of positive, crucial changes to how mental health is seen within the emergency services.

These included:

  • the proportion of personnel who said they were aware of mental health support available to them rose from 46 per cent in 2015 to 65 per cent
  • there was also a big increase in the number of respondents who said their organisations encouraged them to talk about mental health – from 29 per cent in 2015 to 64 per cent
  • there was also a large rise in the proportion of respondents who said their organisation supported people with mental health problems well – up from 34 per cent to 53 per cent.

You can find out more about our survey results, learnings and key recommendations from the Blue Light Programme in our report here. We also have an English summary and Welsh summary.

Other ways to get involved

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