The Fire Fighters Charity has signed the Blue Light Time To Change Associations pledge, joining a growing number of emergency service employers, associations and support organisations showing their commitment to ending mental health stigma and discrimination in the workplace.
The signing took place at the charity’s head office in Basingstoke, with chairman Ken Seager and CEO Dr Jill Tolfrey (pictured) pledging their support to the Blue Light Programme, promoting a better understanding of mental health problems while offering support and wellbeing advice to their members, staff and volunteers.
“The Fire Fighters Charity is pleased to support Mind by signing this pledge to promote wellbeing and end mental health stigma,” said Dr Tolfrey. “With our primary goal being to support the fire community in their time of need, we work closely with our beneficiaries to provide whole-person focused rehabilitation, where participants engage in psychological support alongside physiotherapy and exercise therapy. As well as supporting the Mind Blue Light Infoline, we operate our own helpline for eligible beneficiaries, which assesses and signposts to appropriate services.”
The Fire Fighters Charity joins other emergency service employers, associations and support organisations 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, Staffordshire Police, Surrey Police, Sussex Police and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity 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 and timely support.
“We recognise the vital role organisations and associations that support the emergency services can play in promoting mental health and challenging stigma. By signing the Blue Light Associations pledge The Fire Fighters Charity is helping to fight stigma and promote positive mental health for their staff, volunteers, and the emergency services they support.”