for better mental health

Blue Light Information

This information is designed to support staff and volunteers from the emergency services with their mental health.

Our booklets on mental wellbeing, stress and anxiety, seeking help for a mental health problem, supporting a colleague with a mental health problem and supporting a friend or family member are now available for you to view below. You can also order packs of printed booklets through the Mind shop.

You can also access our information on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and our webinar films on workplace wellbeing below.

Order printed booklets

Mental wellbeing

Mental wellbeing describes your mental state – how you are feeling and how well you can cope with day-to-day life. Mental wellbeing is just as important as physical wellbeing, and you need to maintain both in order to stay fit and healthy.

These booklets explain how to manage your mental wellbeing, including how to build resilience and where to go for support.

Our information booklet 'Managing mental welbeing' is now also available in Welsh for Fire, Ambulance, Police and Search and Rescue staff.

"I think we do a good job most of the time looking after the public, but we don't always look after ourselves to the same level."

Because of the demands of being in the ambulance service, it's important to make sure you manage your mental wellbeing in order to stay fit and healthy.

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It's important to look after your mental wellbeing on a day-to-day basis, and not just after experiencing big, traumatic events.

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We all have times when we have low mental wellbeing – when we feel sad or stressed, or find it difficult to cope.

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Staying mentally well by building resilience can reduce your chances of developing mental health problems like depression, anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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Stress and anxiety

If you work or volunteer in the emergency services, it's natural to find yourself feeling stressed or anxious. But if you become overwhelmed by these feelings often, this could start to seriously affect your health.

These booklets explain how to manage stress and anxiety, including information on panic attacks and where to go for support.

"[Y]ou go to nasty jobs and you try and leave it behind. But you've got your own stresses on top of that... it makes the job extremely hard, and sometimes too hard to do."

91% of ambulance staff and volunteers have experienced stress and poor mental health at work, but you are less likely to take time off work as a result compared to the general workforce.

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If you're feeling stress or anxiety in one area of your life, this can impact other areas too.

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There might be one big thing causing you stress and anxiety, or it could be a build-up of small challenges.

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You might be affected by stress and anxiety because of your search and rescue commitments, or other factors like your job, family, relationships or financial concerns.

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Seeking help for a mental health problem

If you experience a mental health problem, seeking help for it can be a really important step towards getting and staying well.

These booklets explain how to take the first steps, make empowered decisions and get the right support for you, including information on seeking help outside the NHS.

"I always felt like I had to stay strong... but that was the worst thing I could do, really, because everyone's got their limit, and I had reached mine."

Seeking help for a mental health problem can be a really important step towards getting and staying well, but it can be hard to know how to start or where to turn to.

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Fire and rescue service staff and volunteers are more likely to experience a mental health problem than the general workforce.

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As someone in the police service, you might feel uncomfortable seeking support for your mental health. But it's always ok for you to seek help – even if you're not sure if you are experiencing a specific mental health problem.

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The best way to start is normally by talking to a health care professional, such as your GP.

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Supporting a colleague with a mental health problem

Anyone can experience a mental health problem, so being able to talk about it is important to us all. And you don't need to be an expert on mental health. Often, small everyday actions can make the biggest difference.

These booklets explain simple ways you can show support for a colleague experiencing a mental health problem.

"When I've had problems with my mental health or wellbeing, the most helpful thing has been the team's acceptance of me."

Mental health problems affect around one in four people in Britain, and it's even more common among people in the ambulance service.

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37% of fire service personnel think that colleagues would treat them differently, in a negative way, if they disclosed a mental health problem at work.

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Our research shows that emergency services personnel are just as likely to seek help from a colleague as from a GP, so the support you offer can be really valuable.

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If you know someone has been unwell, don't be afraid to ask how they are. Letting them know they don't have to avoid the issue with you is important.

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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Emergency services staff and volunteers are routinely exposed to distressing and traumatic incidents, as well as having demanding workload pressures. As a result, they are more at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than the general population.

You might find our information pages about PTSD helpful if you work or volunteer in the emergency services, or if you're a friend or family member of someone who does.

"You are not alone. Speak to someone you trust and share your feelings. This often helps you feel better and find a way forward. There are lots of support networks out there with people who have been in very similar positions, waiting to listen and help."

For friends and family: how to look after someone's mental wellbeing

Our research shows that emergency services personnel are particularly at risk of developing a mental health problem.

This is a guide for friends and family members of those who work or volunteer in the emergency services, to help you support the mental wellbeing of someone you care about.

"I try to remain 'professional' but that means my daughter and private life suffer for it."

Ambulance service staff and volunteers work hard to prevent mental health problems affecting their performance at work, but this can impact relationships with friends and family.

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"I try to remain 'professional' but that means my daughter and private life suffer for it."

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"Most of the people in your life outside of work have never seen or been involved in a traumatic event, so this can lead to you feeling alone, different, or isolated from family and friends."

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Our research shows that talking to friends and family is the most popular coping mechanism for search and rescue service personnel when they're feeling low or stressed.

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Blue Light webinar films

Learn to recognise what mental health problems are as well as practical ways you can look after your mental health. If you're a line manager, find out how to better manage the mental health of your staff and volunteers too.

With films designed for each of the services, the webinars share the experience, best practice and personal stories of real staff and volunteers working in your service.

Watch the webinars

Other ways to get involved

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