Your blue light stories

When Mind launched the Blue Light Programme in 2015, we found almost nine in 10 of personnel had experienced stress and poor mental health while working for blue light services. We found a workforce often struggling in silence – staff and volunteers experienced more mental health problems than the general workforce, but were less likely to take time off as a result.

On this page, you’ll find stories from blue light staff and volunteers, who have courageously shared their experiences of mental health problems.

Image credit: RNLI/Nathan Williams

Celebrating our mental health support

Liz, Vicky, John and Darren share how our blue light support has impacted them and their colleagues, and why support for mental health in the emergency services needs to continue.

How support for mental health makes a difference in the police service - John’s story

John from West Yorkshire Police shares why it’s important for emergency services to talk about mental health, and how his own mental health experiences led him to develop a peer support programme to help others.

How support for mental health makes a difference in the ambulance service - Liz’s story

Liz from the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust talks about how training and support from her trust has helped her manage her mental health. 

How support for mental health makes a difference in search and rescue services - Vicky’s story

Vicky from Dartmoor Search and Rescue (Plymouth) shares how talking about her mental health problems helped fellow team members open up about their own personal struggles with mental health.

How support for mental health makes a difference in the fire service - Darren’s story

Darren from the London Fire Brigade talks about the importance of speaking openly about mental health, and how he now shares this message with stations and departments across London.

Read our blog posts

Blue light staff and volunteers from ambulance, fire, police and search and rescue have written about what it’s like to experience mental health problems while operating in some of the most challenging workplace environments.



Sometimes just having someone to talk to who has been through that, and who can appreciate the signs and symptoms and early warning signs of depression and mental illness, can be a huge help.

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Fire and rescue


Since I have spoken out, other colleagues including senior officers have told me how they went through that 20 years ago… It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one, that people do get through it...

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I've never had one negative reaction. People react with empathy, and often disclose that either they, a family member or a friend has suffered from mental illness.

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The more I have spoken about it in the last couple of years, the more support I have gained from my colleagues, supervisors and management.

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Some of my supervisor colleagues were uneasy when it came to emotional wellbeing and unclear as to the impact and effect it can have on police officers.

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As a force we are very good at helping people with mental health issues – but we’re not as good when it comes to looking after each other. We see it as weak.

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Search and rescue


Many colleagues in the team are also friends, so it felt natural to talk to them about it. No one judges me and they all trust me to do a good job.

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I've talked to various people over the years about my mental health issues… and there are so many people who have experienced similar things. So it's important to know that you're not alone in feeling this way.

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There is lots of help out there. The hardest part is asking for it or accepting it. That help can make all the difference.

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The most important thing I’ve learnt is about taking care of me but also recognising when my team members might be struggling.

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If you're a friend or family member of someone who experiences a mental health problem, I know it must be hard… But for the person experiencing the mental health problem, just knowing that they have someone who is there... is so important.
*Individual's name has been changed to protect their privacy.

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Watch more blue light films

We’ve made lots of films with blue light personnel who share their experiences of mental health.

In this short film, firefighter Mo talks about why he supports better mental health in team 999.

Watch more films

Mental Health A-Z

Information and advice on a huge range of mental health topics

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

> Find out more

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