Today the government announced that they are going to make available a further £1.5 million to support the delivery of Mind's Blue Light Programme.
The funding, administered by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, will allow the mental health charity to continue its vital work providing mental health support to 999 staff and volunteers across police, fire, ambulance and search and rescue.
Faye McGuinness, Blue Light Programme Manager at Mind said:
"We’re grateful for this additional funding, which will allow us to continue delivering mental health support to our hard-working emergency services staff and volunteers. As recent events have brought to light, Blue Light 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.
"Since March 2015, we have worked in partnership with emergency services across England and Wales who have been committed to making sure the mental health of their staff and volunteers is a priority. Mind’s Blue Light programme has helped thousands of staff and volunteers across our police, search and rescue, fire and ambulance services to actively challenge mental health stigma, learn more about mental health and make positive changes in their approach to wellbeing.
“Funded through LIBOR fines, the programme offers information and resources to teams so members can take care of their own mental health and support others. For example, we are helping train line managers in spotting the signs that one of their colleagues might be struggling with their mental health, and urging employers to create environments where people can talk openly about issues like stress, anxiety and depression. It’s really important that employees are given the space to reflect and debrief, especially after witnessing and attending to traumatic events.
"It is vital that we continue to recognise the importance of supporting the mental health of people who work in blue light services - both in the short term and long term. This extra funding will help us to continue the work we are doing and expand on it through our local Mind network, so we can reach more people than ever."
1] Mind, February 2016, online survey of 1,641 emergency services staff and volunteers (published in April 2016)