Page 17 - Hot_News_March_2016
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Shining a Light On Mental Health
Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service became the latest organisation to join the growing number of emergency service employers and associations showing their commitment to ending mental health stigma and discrimination in the workplace by signing the Blue Light Time to Change pledge in January.
The signing ceremony took place at MFRS Headquarters where representatives pledged their support to the Blue Light Programme, promoting a better understanding of mental health problems while offering support and well-being advice to their staff and volunteers.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan said: “We are extremely proud of the work that our staff do on a daily basis, under some very challenging and traumatic circumstances, so it is right that we should do everything that we can to support their mental health and well-being.
“In doing so we want to promote an environment where discussion about mental health feels as natural as the discussions we have about our physical well- being and any associated stigma is removed.
“It is important that we allow all of our staff easy access to the support that they may require, at a time when they most need it.”
Our Service currently runs a number of supportive initiatives such as Critical Incident Stress Management, Mental Health First Aid training, Family Liaison training and other well-being working practices.
The Service is committed to developing a workforce with an education of mental health matters and an understanding of the support that is required by many of their friends, families and work colleagues.
Staff are encouraged to be involved and contribute to a more comfortable and open environment where talking about mental ill health and seeking help when in difficulty is the norm.
Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service joins the wide movement of emergency service employers and associations that have pledged to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination, including Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Kent Police, Leicestershire Police, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of 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 of life-threatening situations - such as those working within the police, ambulance, fire and search and rescue services – receive appropriate support.
“By signing the Blue Light Time to Change pledge, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is helping to fight stigma and promote positive mental health in emergency services.”
Representatives pledged their support to the Blue Light Programme at a signing ceremony in January.

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