Why we signed and ideas to raise awareness

Find out why different emergency service organisations have decided to sign the Blue Light Time to Change pledge here. See what activities they are doing to challenge stigma and promote better mental health where they work.

Get inspired by your peers

If you believe in better mental health there’s lots of ways you can help to
change how we all think and act when it comes to wellbeing.

Get inspired by what your peers are doing to raise awareness with their staff and volunteers; there might be an idea you can use in your service. Download our PDF of ideas now.

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Avon Fire and Rescue

“Our staff do an incredibly difficult job and often experience traumatic situations which can have a lasting impact.

We already have well established support in place to help staff living with mental health issues, but we know there is still a huge amount of stigma surrounding this illness.

This pledge is about us raising the profile of mental health within our workforce to ensure people feel comfortable seeking out the help and support that is available.”

Chief Fire Officer, Kevin Pearson

Bedfordshire Police

“One in four people will experience a mental health issue at some point, but we know that people working in the emergency services are less likely to seek help. The work our officers and staff do can be tough, and it’s vital that colleagues feel supported.

“We are continuing to take steps to improve awareness and understanding of mental health across the force and I signed the pledge today because I want us to continue to take steps to make our workplace the kind of place where people are not afraid to discuss mental health. We can only break the stigma surrounding mental health if we have those conversations.”

T/Deputy Chief Constable Mike Colbourne

Cheshire Police

Embedding health and wellbeing at the heart of Cheshire Constabulary

Chief Constable Simon Byrne said: “I’m proud of the work that my officers and staff do on a daily basis, that is why I believe that we should do everything that we can to support their wellbeing. As Chief Constable of Cheshire I want to ensure that they have access to the support that they require, where they need it, when they need it.”

Police and Crime Commissioner John Dwyer said: “It’s rewarding to hear about the work the Constabulary has undertaken to help improve the wellbeing of both staff and officers.

“Cheshire Constabulary is a caring organisation and I believe that this important program of work will build on the professional way we deliver services here in Cheshire. I’m confident that this work will help to lead to a healthier, more productive workforce, providing better value for money for the people of Cheshire.” '

Find out more about our pledge activity

Cleveland Fire Brigade

'Ian Hayton, Chief Fire Officer, said: “Our employees are exposed to a wide range of traumatic and stressful situations and it is vital that their mental health is regarded with the same importance as their physical health.

“By signing up to the pledge, we are demonstrating that we want to make our working environment one where people can talk openly about their issues and are able to obtain the necessary help they need.

“We have numerous practices and systems in place including comprehensive occupational health arrangements. The action plan includes initiatives that will further our work and support in this important area.”

Councillor Jan Brunton, Chair of Cleveland Fire Authority, added: “By signing the Pledge we are demonstrating our commitment to empowering our staff to be knowledgeable and speak openly about mental health in order that they feel valued and supported in managing their own wellbeing. I believe it will help break down the barriers and stigma attached to mental illness that can prevent people from getting the support they need.” '

Cleveland Fire Brigade

East of England Ambulance Service

Photo of East of England Ambulance Service signing the pledge. From left to right – Debra Winterson, Robert Morton (CEO), Sarah Boulton (Chairman), Lindsey Stafford-Scott (Director of People & Culture).

Gloucestershire Fire Service

"The message from Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer Stewart Edgar was clear, 'No one needs to suffer in silence or alone'. Over fifty members of staff ranging from firefighter to contract manager, workshop technician to Councillor packed together to witness the Service commit to its Blue Light pledge.

"Occupational Psychologist Nick Wood opened the event with a powerful video directly from Mind's website followed by a moving presentation on how "change and challenging stigma" starts with each and every one of us. He described how individuals, teams and the Service can all have a part to play in tackling an issue that affects all of us. To make sure no one was forgotten over sixty "Tea and Talk" bags packed with information, chocolate biscuits and tea bags were sent to every single team in the Service.

"We are quite clear at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service - everyone matters."

Gloucestershire Fire Service

 

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service

"On Time to Talk Day, 2nd February 2017, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) signed the Blue Light Time to Change pledge.

"Signing the pledge is a proud moment and milestone for our service and is part of our ongoing commitment to develop, support and extend our health and wellbeing activity for everyone at GMFRS.

"From the very nature of our roles, responsibilities and inherent desire to support others as a service, at some point everyone will be affected in some way by the positive and negative impact of mental wellness and mental illness. 

"We have worked hard to tackle both the stigma and the support to improve mental ill health. We have recruited Mind Blue Light Champions, shared peer stories about colleague’s own personal experiences of living with mental ill health, improved access to psychological support in the service and focused on mental health awareness in our training and development programmes.
But there is more to do - and we will do more.

"By signing the pledge and making that visible, demonstrable commitment we are – together as a service – reaffirming that we want to do all we can in challenging and removing the stigma that mental ill health can bring. Always remember, it’s ok to talk, its ok not to be ok and it’s definitely ok to ask for help."

The Health and Wellbeing team
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service

Hertfordshire Constabulary

“It’s important to appreciate that colleagues working within the Blue Light services experience the same mental health issues as the general population, however research has shown that these problems can be exacerbated by the nature of our profession. It’s vital that colleagues feel they are supported if they are struggling with mental health issues.

“Myself and Chief Officers in Hertfordshire are totally committed to providing the support networks for those in need of help and today marks the start of a journey to improve the way we do things. Moving forward this will involve recruiting Blue Light Champions across the Force to support the drive to change the way we think and act about mental health problems in the workplace."

Chief Constable Charlie Hall

Kent Police

"Kent Police were the first emergency service to sign the Time to Change pledge in 2012, backed by a tangible action plan outlining the commitments it had made to challenge mental health stigma. The key motivation was a desire to make mental wellbeing more mainstream. Poor mental health can still too often be seen as a taboo subject, especially within the workplace. One of the main instigators behind Kent Police signing up to the pledge was Inspector Wayne Goodwin who wanted to bring the subject of poor mental health into the open. As a member of the local disability support group, Wayne was concerned that there had always been more of a focus on providing help and support for physical disabilities and wished to address this imbalance. Wayne took the decision to speak up about his own mental health journey to help get people talking and set the “ripples in motion”. The ambition was, and is, to ensure that the general wellbeing, both mental and physical of the workforce is always a priority."

Kent Police

Read the full case study

Lincolnshire Police

'The Blue Light Time to Change pledge was signed up to by the Deputy Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner on behalf of the service.

Deputy Chief Constable Gary Knighton said: “We are really pleased to be able to work with Mind, and we are committed to ending the stigma of mental ill health for our staff. We are working hard within the organisation to support wellbeing for all of our people, and signing the pledge is our way of showing our commitment to this aim.”

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire, Marc Jones said, “I am pleased to sign the Mind Blue Light Time to Change pledge, as the welfare and wellbeing of officers is central to my plans. Police officers and staff can only take care of the public if they fit and well, and I whole-heartedly support this pledge, and the action plan that underpins it”. '

Lincolnshire Police

North Yorkshire Police

'Chief Constable Dave Jones, said: “Police officers, staff and volunteers are exposed to a wide range of traumatic and stressful situations and it is vital that their mental health is treated the same importance as their physical health.

“For too long, people have felt unable to talk about their mental health problems and by signing up the pledge, we are demonstrating that we want things to change and make our working environment one where people can talk openly and are able to obtain the necessary help they need.

“Our action plan has already had a head start thanks to our own Sergeant Ed Simpson, who shared his story about his experience of severe depression and is now an Ambassador for Mind’s Blue Light programme.”

The action plan includes encouraging staff and volunteers to talk openly about mental health problems and appointing mental health champions across the force who people can talk to.'

North Yorkshire Police

Northumberland Fire and Rescue

The pledge signing at Northumberland Fire and Rescue service.

Royal Berkshire Fire Authority (RBFA)

'On 19 October 2016, RBFA’s commitment was formalised by the signing of the Blue Light Time to Change pledge by Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer, Andy Fry and Chairman of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, Councillor Colin Dudley. The pledge focuses on promoting a better understanding of mental health problems while offering support and wellbeing advice to staff and volunteers.

Chief Fire Officer, Andy Fry, said: “I am delighted to be signing the Blue Light Time to Change pledge, demonstrating our commitment to tackling mental health stigma. We support our staff through training, positive mental health initiatives and safety and wellbeing mechanisms. The pledge offers us a great opportunity to work with Mind and other emergency services to reduce the stigma attached to mental health.”

Chairman of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, Councillor Colin Dudley, said: We are strongly in favour of collaboration and the fire service in Berkshire already works closely with partners from the other blue light services on a number of different initiatives. This pledge will further enable Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service to demonstrate their commitment to tackling mental health stigma.” '

Royal Berkshire Fire Authority

South Yorkshire Police

“The “Blue Light Time to Change” pledge reinforces South Yorkshire Police’s commitment to challenging the stigma that’s related to mental health. I am determined to do all I can to ensure that we all work together to stay healthy and safe.

The best support is always provided by friends and colleagues and we will work to make our working environment one where people can talk openly and are able to obtain the help they need.”

Chief Constable Steven Watson

Staffordshire Police

'We are demonstrating our commitment to empower our staff to be knowledgeable and to speak openly about mental health in order that they feel valued and supported in managing their own wellbeing and in providing a high class service to the public they serve.

We signed on World Suicide Prevention Day for two reasons. Firstly to combine with an awareness day that we are holding at HQ in support of the day, to increase awareness and demonstrate the support that can be provided, and secondly, in preparation for a three month wellbeing tour we are doing across the county with a key theme and aim to raise awareness surrounding mental health.' 

Staffordshire Police

Thames Valley Police

“Policing can be a difficult and stressful job which is always fast moving and challenging. People often have to face difficult and emotionally complex situations and they need support in the aftermath of those.

“Traditionally people have thought of our officers and staff as automatons who feel nothing and are affected by nothing but I am pleased to say that as we have moved into the world of modern policing, we have recognised that many people need help and support both with things that happen in the workplace and those that happen outside.

“We expect our staff to deal sympathetically and with empathy to people in mental health crisis that they come across in operational scenarios, and we need them to also recognise when colleagues are in need of care and support and when to intervene appropriately.

“Caring for each other properly within the workplace can only help us to better understand the challenges we face on the streets, and will ensure that our own workforce is well supported and able to remain in the workplace and contribute to the policing mission.”

ACC Nicola Ross, Thames Valley Police

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