fire mental healthCharity Mind has opened a confidential help and support service for emergency services staff, volunteers, friends and family after identifying those in the services as at greater risk of developing mental health problems than the general population.

The Blue Light Infoline forms part of a year-long programme being delivered by Mind to support personnel across police, ambulance, fire and search and rescue teams in England following survey findings which showed 87% of staff experienced stress or poor mental health around their job role.

Further reading: Mental health problems affect 9 in 10 emergency services personnel

Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, said: “We know from our own research with emergency services personnel just how tough these jobs can be, and that’s why it’s so important that tailored support is available. Those on the front line have to deal with traumatic events on a daily basis, so it’s no wonder that anxiety, stress and mental health problems are commonplace. It can be difficult for friends and family too, who often play a vital role supporting our Blue Light staff and volunteers.

“It’s sometimes hard to know where to turn for help. That’s why we’re pleased to launch our Blue Light Infoline, offering bespoke information and support for emergency service staff, volunteers and their families.”

The Infoline number is 0300 303 5999 and calls are charged at the local rate. Infoline advisers can also be contacted by emailing or by sending a text message to 84999.

The team of dedicated advisers can provide information on a range of topics including staying mentally healthy at work, types of mental health problem, how and where to get help, medication and alternative treatments, advocacy, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), existing emergency service support and mental health and the law.

Speaking at the launch of the programme earlier this year [6 March], Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "Emergency service workers save lives every day, helping people in trouble or in need - but we need to support them as they deal with the incredibly stressful and sometimes harrowing situations they face in the line of duty.

"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 towards parity of esteem between mental and physical health."