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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Staffordshire fire and rescue sign up to mental health anti-stigma pledge

04/11/2015

Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford signs the pledge

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue today became the latest organisation to join the growing number of emergency service employers and associations showing their commitment to ending mental health stigma and discrimination in the workplace by signing the Blue Light Time to Change pledge.

“Firefighters can often find themselves in some very challenging situations and the impact upon crews cannot be underestimated. It is vital for those who work in the emergency services to look after their mental health and for us as an organisation to support them in this.”

Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford

The signing ceremony took place at 9.30am this morning and representatives from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service pledged their support to the Blue Light Programme, promoting a better understanding of mental health problems while offering support and wellbeing advice to their staff and volunteers.

Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford said: “Statistics show that in any given year, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem.
“Firefighters can often find themselves in some very challenging situations and the impact upon crews cannot be underestimated. It is vital for those who work in the emergency services to look after their mental health and for us as an organisation to support them in this.”

In Staffordshire, the Service has already launched a number of health initiatives in partnership with Age UK, Public Health England and local Health and Wellbeing Boards in a bid to keep local communities as safe as possible. The Blue Light Time to Change pledge supports our long-term message that prevention is always better than cure.

Signing the Blue Light Time to Change pledge demonstrates the Services commitment to challenge the stigma attached to mental health and to promote positive health and wellbeing in the work place.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue joins the wide movement of emergency service employers and associations that have pledged to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination, including Derbyshire Fire & Rescue, Kent Fire and Rescue Kent Police, Leicestershire Police, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

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. Good mental health should be a priority in any workplace but it is especially important that people exposed to traumatic of life-threatening situations - such as those working within the police, ambulance, fire and search and rescue services – receive appropriate support. By signing the Blue Light Time to Change pledge Staffordshire Fire and Rescue is helping to fight stigma and promote positive mental health in emergency services.”

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