Mental health matters from day one

Our emergency services save lives every day – their mental health matters.

Our research shows that mental health needs to be a priority from the start of someone’s career, and throughout.

Download our research summary now to find out why.

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Our key findings

From 2016 to 18 we:

  • tested mental health activity with new recruits and 999 call handlers
  • piloted our redeveloped resilience course, and
  • looked at how a wellbeing programme like ours could have benefits for the public too.

We found that:

  • Mandatory support is needed from the start of someone’s 999 career.
  • A positive and open culture around wellbeing is vital.
  • Training and support needs to be accessible and relevant.
  • Staff can learn healthy ways to cope with distressing things.

You can learn all of the techniques to get on scene but nothing can prepare you for how your body and your mind are going to respond in that situation.

Support from the start

Our research shows that new recruits can find life in the emergency services tougher than expected. They don’t always feel prepared to deal with the difficult things they see and hear for the first time.

That’s why we made mental health training that’s just for them, and tested how well it works.

New recruits that took it said they were more aware of how to take care of their mental health. They’d also be more likely to ask for help if they needed it.

Image credit below: Metropolitan Police

10 actions we can all take

Whether you work in the emergency services or support those who do, our research shows there are things we can all do for better mental health in team 999.

  1. Consider the unique and diverse environments that emergency services staff and volunteers operate in when designing and delivering training and support services.
  2. Promote an organisational culture that emphasises the mental health and wellbeing of blue light staff and volunteers.
  3. Use the learning from our research and evaluation to make sure that training and support is accessible to all staff and volunteers.
  4. Demonstrate a commitment to staff wellbeing from day one by making mental health training mandatory for new recruits and providing space for them to reflect with their colleagues.
  5. Invest in line manager training to help supervisors feel more confident and better support their staff.
  6. Maintain and support a strong network of Blue Light Champions who can raise awareness of mental health and help to reduce stigma.
  7. Invest in building the resilience of emergency services staff and volunteers so they can keep themselves well in a challenging environment.
  8. Consider the wider benefits to the public of initiatives to improve the mental health and wellbeing of emergency services staff and volunteers.
  9. Help staff to understand how important it is to look after their own wellbeing by providing support that is targeted and relevant.
  10. Download our Blueprint Pack to learn more about how to embed staff wellbeing support into core business practice.
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Find out more

Read the detailed reports from our latest research, and more.

All of the reports we’ve done into the mental health of emergency services, and the impact of our work with them, are available to download now.

Our full research

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