Fire service signs up to Blue Light Pledge

Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) has signed up to the Blue Light Pledge to support staff to feel more able to speak openly about mental health and to seek support when they need it.

Mind, the mental health charity, has set up the Blue Light Programme to provide mental health support for emergency services staff and volunteers from police, search and rescue, fire and ambulance services across England.

Research shows that members of the emergency services are at greater risk of experiencing a mental health issue than the general population, but are less likely to seek support.

AF&RS has joined more than 400 employers across different sectors who are working to tackle mental health stigma and help keep their staff well for work.

Today (Thursday 26 January) Councillor Peter Abraham, Chairman of Avon Fire Authority, Chief Fire Officer Kevin Pearson and Deputy Chief Fire Officer Lorraine Houghton signed the Blue Light Pledge to show the Service’s commitment to challenge mental health stigma and promote positive wellbeing within the Service.

The pledge commitment is backed by an action plan, which details the activities to be delivered to enable staff to look out for themselves, their team and members of the public.

Chief Fire Officer, Kevin Pearson said: “Our staff do an incredibly difficult job and often experience traumatic situations which can have a lasting impact.

“We already have well established support in place to help staff living with mental health issues, but we know there is still a huge amount of stigma surrounding this illness.

“This pledge is about us raising the profile of mental health within our workforce to ensure people feel comfortable seeking out the help and support that is available.”