Today, Mind Charity published its Blue Light Campaign to provide mental health support for emergency services staff and volunteers from police, fire, ambulance and search and rescue services across England.
One quarter of a million people who work and volunteer in the emergency services are even more at risk of experiencing a mental health problem than the general population, but are less likely to get support.
As usual, they found that it was stigma that was the biggest issue in staff seeking help. Stigma truly is the real killer, and I will be writing a blog on it soon. The campaign will do the following to help our emergency services:
- An anti-stigma campaign, working together with Time to Change, and guidance for employers to improve the way they support their staff
- A bespoke mental health training package for managers as well as frontline staff and volunteers across the emergency services
- A pilot approach to build the mental health resilience of emergency services staff and volunteers
- An information helpline and resources just for emergency service staff and volunteers, and their families.
The support will be available from April 2015 and the Blue Light Programme will run until March 2016. It is being developed in consultation with individuals from across the emergency services.
The Twitter hashtag for this campaign will be #mybluelight
It is so refreshing to see this issue (which as you know I feel super passionate about) being addressed. Although I hope this project will extend to all health workers who may all at some point be exposed to the same psychological traumas. A great perspective on other Blue Light professions is given by The Mental Health Cop who was also part of the advisory board for this campaign.
Although this work is amazing, it also involves empowering staff with resilience, and this concept concerns me. It may suggest that there are some who can cope and others who are weak. It may imply that if you have resilience, then you will not be affected. In other areas of work based psychological distress, you shouldn’t have to be resilient. For instance to bullies, blame and scapegoating cultures, it should just stop. We will always be affected by traumatic incidents, and I know that this anti stigma campaign and valuable resource guidance will improve the mental health and well being of NHS Staff.
Why not ask your NHS Trust to sign the Blue Light Time to Change pledge and develop an action plan. Commit to support better mental health in your workplace – get in touch with Mind and give your name, job title, the service you work for and your contact details.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, organisation and contact details and Mind will send you updates on the programme.
If you have been affected by anything discussed within this post please see the support page on this blog.