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“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the recent horrendous incident at Grenfell Tower, especially the victims, their friends and family, local residents, volunteers and emergency services personnel. Incidents such as these bring into focus the hugely challenging and dangerous jobs our 999 staff and volunteers carry out, day in, day out, to keep the public safe.
“Historically, there has been a ‘macho’ culture within emergency services, which tend to be male-dominated. There’s a perception that regularly being exposed to traumatic situations makes you immune to developing mental health problems, but that’s not the case. In fact, our survey of over 1,600 staff and volunteers across the emergency services shows that nearly 9 in 10 have experienced stress, low mood or poor mental health while performing their role, and a shocking one in four said that they had contemplated taking their own lives.
“Mind’s Blue Light Programme delivers mental health support to staff and volunteers across search and rescue, police, fire and ambulance services in England and Wales. 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.
“If you’re struggling with your mental health, try to open up to someone you trust, such as a close friend or family member. Often simply talking about it helps. If the problem continues and begins to interfere with everyday life, speak to your GP, who can talk you through the support that’s available. Mind also has a Blue Light Infoline – a confidential 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 protected] or texting 84999.”Emergency Services