Date: 1st February, 2018
Today (1st February 2018) Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue became the latest blue light organisation to show their commitment to ending mental health stigma and discrimination in the workplace, by signing the Blue Light Time to Change pledge.
The Chief Fire Officer, Ben Ansell and the Chairman of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority, Cllr Spencer Flower pledged their support today but the work has just begun for DWFRS. The MIND Blue Light Programme promotes a better understanding of mental health problems while offering support and wellbeing advice to staff and volunteers.
Ben said: “As the Chief Fire Officer of Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, I’ve long been promoting our “one team” approach, which puts people are at the heart of all we do. We value all our staff and volunteers, and want to ensure that their health and wellbeing are central to the way we do things. I know that research shows that those working in the emergency services are more at risk of experiencing a mental health issue, but unfortunately, are less likely to seek support. It’s for these reasons I’m so supportive of the work of the MIND Blue Light Time to Change Programme – it’s a fantastic mechanism to highlight the benefits of talking about our mental health and providing support across our whole Service.”
The Pledge will be supported by a delivery plan which has been authorised by the MIND Charity and will be rolled out across DWFRS by the MIND Blue Light Project Team. Staff who attended the pledge signing today had the opportunity to hear about the work of the MIND Blue Light Project Team and the support available for staff and volunteers, as well as talking to the Service’s new Blue Light Champions.
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 or 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 Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue is helping to fight stigma and promote positive mental health in emergency services.”
Notes to Editors:
- We’re MIND, the mental health charity. We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. We won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets both support and respect. www.mind.org.uk
- Please note that MIND is not an acronym and should be set in title case.
About the Blue Light Programme:
- MIND was awarded LIBOR funding to develop and deliver a major new programme of mental health support for emergency services staff and volunteers from police, fire, ambulance and search and rescue services across England. Find out more at mind.org.uk/bluelight Organisations can register their interest in signing the Blue Light Time to Change pledge to develop meaningful action plans to support their staff and volunteers, or find out more information about the programme, by emailing [email protected] or visiting mind.org.uk/BlueLight
- The Blue Light Infoline offers confidential, independent and practical information, advice and signposting around mental health and wellbeing to emergency service staff, volunteers and their families in England. The Infoline is available on 0300 303 5999 (lines open Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, calls charged at local rates). Alternatively email [email protected] or text 84999 for a response from one of our advisers during Infoline working hours.
The attached picture shows Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Ansell and Cllr Flower signing the MIND Blue Light pledge as well as the CFO and Chairman with the DWFRS MIND Blue Light champions. If you use these pictures, please credit Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.