Working in an ambulance control room allows you to help people in their moment of need. When they might not have anyone else to turn to or have someone having a crisis in front of them or a lifeless loved one in front of them. At that moment you are there to answer their call. We reassure them and offer help and instructions until someone arrives with them to take over.
Our call handlers care - they want to make a difference
Our call handlers do this each and every day, because they care, because they want to make a difference, often never feeling how this impacts on them, so that’s where I come in. I can make sure colleagues are well trained, prepared on how to manage those situations and most importantly, support them personally should they need it.
Over the last four years I have introduced and promoted mental health awareness and wellbeing into our control room through training and improving the environment staff work within. This starts with an in-depth session in their initial training on how to manage the role they are undertaking, the callers, the situations and the heartache and frustration they will experience.
The delivery of this session comes from me personally, sharing my lived experience and giving permission for colleagues to share how they are feeling, talk through their thoughts and seek support if they need to.
For me, providing resilience training and support opportunities for colleagues is the least I can do when they offer so much to callers each and every time they answer a 999 call.
If I don't look after their mental health, how can they look after our callers?
The colleagues I work with inspire me to do better for them every day, because if I don’t look after them and their mental health, how can they look after our callers who really need them?
We also took part in the pilot training the Blue Light Programme developed to test with call handlers. The course has given us a clearer insight into supporting our patients and callers experiencing mental health issues, as well as raising our own awareness of mental health problems.
Having Mind deliver the courses gave staff confidence in the facilitators expertise and knowledge, being a household name as a market leader on all matters mental health related.
The course was delivered with enthusiasm and a great amount of knowledge
The course was delivered with enthusiasm and a great amount of knowledge. We felt confident to ask questions about situations we may experience and then reflect on how we had put that into practice positively, on the second part of the course. Ultimately, not only have we personally benefitted, but our patients will too.