Becoming a workplace mental health champion

A workplace mental health champion is an employee or volunteer who takes action in the workplace to raise awareness of mental health problems. They challenge the way people think and act about mental health.

Any current employee or volunteer working in the police, fire, ambulance or search and rescue services could be a mental health champion, whether or not you have personal experience of mental health problems.

Champions raise awareness of mental health and help break down stigma in the workplace. How you do this is completely up to you, and we encourage champions to get creative! Remember: every activity, no matter how big or small, contributes to the central goal of challenging mental health stigma.

During our Blue Light Programme, nearly 3000 emergency service personnel across England and Wales signed up to become Blue Light Champions, changing the way mental health is seen within emergency services.


We’ve developed lots of information and resources to support individuals and organisations wanting to know more about mental health champions.

Please note: Unfortunately we are no longer able to accept applications for Blue Light Champions at Mind. You can use our resources to set up your own Champion networks within your services or to support your individial activities in advocating for better mental health. 

Darren's story (fire)

Mental health champion Darren talks about how he shares his personal experiences of PTSD and depression to give others the confidence to talk about their mental health.

Champion toolkit

Whether you’re an individual wanting to become a champion in your workplace, or an emergency service organisation interested in starting a champions programme, you’ll find resources here to help you get started.

 

  • Role description – Use our editable template role description (Word), or see our example role description (PDF) as a guide.

  • Mental health champion application form – Use this form when recruiting mental health champions in your organisation. Download (Word)

  • Activity guide – Ideas and practical steps to help you get started, and think about the best ways to raise awareness in your workplace. Please note: this guide was developed specifically for use during the Blue Light Programme, which has now ended. However you’ll still find lots of useful information here that can help you. Download (PDF)

  • Introduction to mental health awareness presentation – Raise awareness of mental health amongst your colleagues. You can add and adapt slides to meet your needs. Read the presentation cover note before you get started, then download the presentation (PowerPoint).

  • Maintaining boundaries and managing conversations guide – Details some of the things you may want to think about when looking to set up clear boundaries, which could help keep you and your colleagues safe. Please note: this resource was developed specifically for use during the Blue Light Programme, which has now ended. However you’ll still find lots of useful information here that can help you. Download (PDF)

  • Making better mental health happen – More ideas for how you can raise awareness, including case studies from other emergency services. Download (PDF)

Champion workshop

8 out of 10 emergency service staff and volunteers we surveyed thought colleagues would be more comfortable talking about physical health than mental health. Often, being judged and isolated can be harder than the mental health problem itself.

That’s why we developed our ‘Speaking Up, Speaking Out’ workshop, to support champions to talk about their own mental health.

It was good to mix with other 999s and share views, practices and policies

The workshop is designed to be delivered to champions, and led by either a fellow champion or facilitator. The aim of the workshop is to help participants to:

  • Think about their own personal experience of stress, anxiety, low mood or other mental health problems, and whether sharing this as a champion is right for them.

  • Identify ways they can best look after their wellbeing.

  • Hear from other champions who have spoken out about their personal experience of mental health problems

  • Meet other champions from their service, ask questions, discuss ideas and talk through any concerns or problems they’re facing.

Download the materials

•    Example workshop slides (PDF) or editable version (PowerPoint)
•    Organising and facilitating the workshop guide (PDF)
•    Participant handbook (PDF)
•    Example session plan (Word)

Peer support

Our research shows that emergency services staff and volunteers really value peer support in managing their mental health. We’ve developed these resources to help you set up or build on existing peer support networks within your organisation.

  • Mind's Side by Side resources toolkit contains everything you need for setting up or building on your peer support project. Download (PDF)

  • Peer support benefits presentation. Want to encourage your service to create space for peer to peer support? Use our presentation, co-created with emergency services staff and volunteers, to get the right people on board. Download the presentation (PowerPoint) or download the presentation notes (PDF).

  • Looking after yourself as a peer supporter – interview. We caught up with Amanda, a peer supporter from North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) to see how she stays well while doing the role. Read the interview

  • Top tips from peer supporters. We brought together 11 peer supporters across the emergency services to get their thoughts and ideas. This document highlights their key tips on delivering peer support. Read their top tips (PDF).

Information and resources

Here are some other resources you might find useful if you’re thinking of becoming a champion or developing a champion programme in your workplace.

Posters, cards and leaflets

We’ve developed different materials to help you promote better mental health where you work. You could display posters around your organisation and give a top-tips card to every member in your team.

Download materials

Information booklets

Our service-specific information booklets can help you learn more about managing mental health in the emergency services, or supporting a colleague to seek help. Topics include mental wellbeing, stress and anxiety, seeking help for a mental health problem and supporting a colleague with a mental health problem.

Read more

Watch our webinars

Our webinar films are available to watch at any time and include guidance, tips and practical suggestions for looking after your mental wellbeing, as well as that of your colleagues. Topics include mental health awareness, looking after your mental health and managing mental health at work.

Watch the webinars

Other ways to support mental health

Here are some other ways you can help support mental health in your service:

  • Become a Mind member – Our members are at the heart of our work. You’ll join a growing group of people who play a part in everything we do, and who are determined to make sure that no-one faces a mental health problem alone.

  • Sign up to Mind’s bi-monthly [email protected]rk emails, for all your news on workplace wellbeing.

  • You can download our free Blue Light Programme Blueprint Pack, for step-by-step guidance on how to set up or embed activity around mental health in your service.

  • Check our new Mental Health Gateway, which provides workplace wellbeing advice for people from all sectors.

  • Get in contact with your local Mind. Our network of around 126 local Minds are also there to support all people in their local area, including members of the emergency services. Each local Mind is unique and tailors services to match their community. You can find out more about your local Mind here.

  • You could become a Time to Change or Time to Change Wales Champion. Read more about it on their websites and get in touch.

  • Why not fundraise for Mind? Getting together with friends, family or colleagues or taking on a personal challenge is a great way to support Mind, plus we think it feels great too.

Becky's story (police)

“The top ranking officer in our local area wrote to me saying… that I had made a huge difference, that people were getting more support, and that there was more awareness and less stigma.”

Read more

Scott's story (police)

“People started turning up, and that's when I got a bit nervous. But to have 18 enthusiastic people show up from across the force… gave me a lot of encouragement… It made my day knowing that so many people wanted to do this.” Image credit: Gareth Noyes

Read more

Regie's story (search and rescue)

“Being a Champion means I have greater knowledge of my own mental health and I feel it has made a positive difference making people aware of what to look out for, not only in themselves but also in others.”

Read more

Blue light stories

Staff and volunteers from across the services share their personal experiences of mental health in our films and case studies.

Blue light stories

Mental Health A-Z

Information and advice on a huge range of mental health topics

> Read our A-Z

Training

Helping you to better understand and support people with mental health problems

> Find out more

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