Mind research finds stress affects nine in ten emergency services personnel
Posted by Tracy Seward
In late 2014 mental health charity Mind ran an online survey which reached approximately 1.5% of all emergency services staff and volunteers (3,627 people). Below are the findings:
The initial findings of the research were revealed at the programme launch event hosted by the Cabinet Office which took place earlier this month. The breakfast event included speeches from Mind’s Chief Executive Paul Farmer; Chief Constable at Leicestershire Police Simon Cole QPM; and Eleanor Hathaway of Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, on her personal experience of a mental health problem.
Staff and volunteers in the emergency services have already been identified as at higher risk of developing a mental
health problem, due to the unique set of difficulties these challenging roles present. However, this data is the first to reveal the scale of the problem and the level of unmet need. The mind has received £4m in funding from LIBOR fines to deliver a programme supporting ‘Blue Light’ personnel with their mental health.
The mind is urging emergency services organisations to register their interest in signing the Blue Light Time to Change pledge – a commitment to developing meaningful action plans to support the wellbeing of their staff and volunteers. The action plans will follow the model developed by Time to Change, the anti-stigma campaign run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, but will be more tailored to the emergency services needs.
The Blue Light Programme focuses on four main areas:
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “Not only are many of our blue light personnel struggling with their mental health, but they’re less likely to seek support or have time off sick than the general workforce. The programme we’ll be delivering over the next year aims to ensure that the estimated quarter of a million people working and volunteering within police, ambulance, fire and search and rescue divisions are able to talk openly about their mental health and access the support they need to stay well, recover and continue doing the vital and challenging roles they do serving the community.
“Since Mind was awarded the funding and we have begun work on the project, we have been really encouraged by the response from everyone we have spoken to. There is a clear consensus that this is an issue that needs tackling and it’s clear that the will is there to address it.”
“That’s why, at the end of last year, we asked Mind to work with our emergency services personnel to develop and trial a new package of front-line mental health support. So I’m delighted that this programme is now underway.
“We still have a long way to go to break down the stigma around mental health but with initiatives like this we’re helping to drive a culture change so that one day we’ll see parity of esteem between physical and mental health.”
For more information on the Stress Awareness for Employees eLearning course2, please click here.
For more information on the Stress Awareness for Managers eLearning course, please click here.
The 2020 pandemic has taken its toll on the nations mental health and has led to a general increase in alcohol consumption. Here is a helpful resource and discussion for reducing drinking during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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