As recent events have shown, emergency service workers do an extremely challenging job day in, day out, frequently encountering difficult and traumatic situations. But they’re not immune to mental health problems - in fact, our own research has found over 9 in 10 emergency services workers have experienced stress, low mood or poor mental health while working for the emergency services, and over one in four admitted that this had caused them to contemplate suicide. That’s why it’s so important that comprehensive, ongoing mental health support is available for all of our emergency services.
The Government announced on the 17th June that Mind’s Blue Light Programme will receive a further £1.5m investment. We’re pleased that this additional funding will help us to continue the work we are doing and expand on it through our local Mind network, so we can ensure emergency services staff and volunteers get the right mental health support. We’re now working together with the emergency services and local Minds to develop our plans for this additional funding. We’ll share more information as soon as we can.
Information and support
If you or someone you know has been affected by recent incidents and needs support, you might find the following information useful:
Urgent support: if you need urgent help now then please click here.
Talk to someone now: The Samaritans are always there for confidential, emotional support, whatever you’re going through. Call them on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
NHS support - if you are worried about your mental health please see this NHS trauma leaflet. It outlines common reactions, simple suggestions for how to cope and ways in which children may be supported to cope. If your symptoms are severe and you are in distress or they last longer than four weeks, this may indicate the need for support from a mental health professional. Please visit your GP.
Government information – advice and links to all types of support available to those affected by recent incidents, including mental health support, is available here.
Mind’s advice on coping with traumatic events – get information on; if you want to talk to someone, if you’re feeling stressed, anxious or angry, if you’re feeling low or hopeless and if you’re feeling unsafe. There’s also advice on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and supporting young people and children.
Blue Light Programme confidential Infoline – Mind’s Blue Light Infoline is a confidential mental health advice and support service open to anyone working or volunteering within emergency services - as well as their friends and family. It’s available by calling 0300 303 5999 (lines open Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm), emailing email@example.com or texting 84999.
Blue Light Programme information booklets – these are for anyone working in the ambulance, fire, police and search and rescue services. Topics include mental wellbeing, stress and anxiety, seeking help for a mental health problem, supporting a colleague with a mental health problem and supporting a friend or family member working in the emergency services. They include links to other organisations that provide support to the emergency services too.
Emergency service employers – if you work in the emergency services then your employer may have specific support available following a traumatic incident. Please contact your line manager, someone in HR or a member of your wellbeing team to see what is available.
Our third year
From April 2017 all of our support, information, training and resources are available to emergency service staff and volunteers across both England and Wales to access at mind.org.uk/bluelight. Use our resources and guidance on supporting the programme to challenge stigma and raise awareness where you work.
Over our third year we will continue to work in partnership with the emergency services, associations and local Minds to embed lasting change in this sector. Find out more here.