Friday 29th January 2016 – 12.20pm – Chris Kowalik.
A quarter of people in the UK will experience a mental health problem in any year. But research for the charity Mind shows that people who work and volunteer for the emergency services are at greater risk of experiencing a mental health problem than the general population.
Mind has been awarded LIBOR funding to develop the Blue Light Programme, to provide mental health support for staff and volunteers from ambulance, police, fire and search and rescue services across England.
At its meeting held in Brierley Hill on Wednesday 27th January, the Board of West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust signed-up to the Blue Light “Time to Change” Pledge.
The Pledge reads: “There is growing understanding that good mental health underpins everything we do, how we act, think, feel and behave. The mental health and wellbeing of our staff needs to be protected, promoted and supported throughout the Trust. By fostering a supportive mentally healthy workplace this will not only benefit our staff but enable staff to provide high quality service to our patients. The Mind Blue Light Pledge has offered the Trust the opportunity to make a public statement of support to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination within the work place.”
Signed by Trust Chairman Sir Graham Meldrum and Chief Executive Anthony Marsh (both pictured above – picture: West Midlands Ambulance Service), the pledge commits West Midlands Ambulance Service to fostering a supportive mentally healthy workplace and, moving forward, will look at ways of improving support and services that all staff have access to. The Trust has embraced the Mind Blue Light Project for several months during which staff have attended events as part of their personal development.
Anthony Marsh (pictured above – picture: West Midlands Ambulance Service) said: “The health and wellbeing of all staff is vitally important and I am delighted to sign the pledge on behalf of the Trust Board. Working for an emergency service is both physically and mentally challenging, especially for frontline staff who are attending incidents and staff answering emergency calls in our control rooms. The board is fully committed to providing support to all staff in a way which is the most appropriate, accessible and effective and which is also influenced by staff themselves. Moving forward this best practice can then become embedded in the Trust’s culture.”
More information on the Mind Blue Light Time to Change Pledge can be found here: