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Fire service pledges staff support on World Mental Health Day

10 October 2018

Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service has shown its commitment to support staff with mental health issues by signing a pledge backed by the mental health charity Mind.

As part of World Mental Health Day on 10 October, the service signed the Mind Blue Light Time to Change pledge.  Research by Mind shows that emergency services staff are more at risk of experiencing a mental health issue than the general public, but less likely to seek support.

The Blue Light Programme provides 999 staff and volunteers with support and information about mental health, and challenges how we all think and feel about mental health in the workplace through the pledge.

By signing the pledge, Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service is showing its commitment to promoting positive wellbeing within the service and tackling the stigma surrounding mental health.

Staff were invited to a wellbeing roadshow at Carrow Fire Station in Norwich, featuring advice from organisations including Norfolk Support Line, The Fire Fighters’ Charity, IPRS Health and People Asset Management.  There was also a charity bake sale.

The pledge was signed at the roadshow by Chief Fire Officer David Ashworth, Councillor Margaret Dewsbury and representatives from the Fire Brigades Union, the Fire & Rescue Services Association and Unison.

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee, said:  “This event and the signing of the pledge demonstrates our fire service’s commitment to supporting its staff. Mental health issues can affect any of us at any time and it’s reassuring to know that our fire and rescue service staff have access to the best support and advice whenever they need it through this Blue Light programme.”

Mahbu Rahman, Blue Light Programme Manager at Mind, said:  “We are pleased to see Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service taking this positive step to promote mental health and wellbeing by signing the Blue Light Time to Change pledge on World Mental Health Day.  By making this pledge, the service is joining more than 100 other emergency services, representative bodies and organisations around the country to have also committed to tackling poor mental health within 999 services.

“Norfolk’s emergency services perform challenging, potentially traumatic, and dangerous duties every day to keep us all safe.  Far from being immune to stress and poor mental health, the unique pressures of the role can put 999 staff and volunteers at greater risk of developing a mental health problem.  It’s so important staff and volunteers are offered support so they can be at their best, ready to carry out these difficult and life-saving roles we often take for granted.

"Mind’s Blue Light Programme offers information, training and resources to emergency services to better equip staff and volunteers to take care of their own mental health and support others.”

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