MFRS pledges support for national ‘Brew Monday’ campaign

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) is backing the national campaign to turn ‘Blue Monday’ into ‘Brew Monday’ by encouraging all their staff to undertake the Zero Suicide Alliance’s (ZSA) suicide prevention training.

Traditionally regarded as the lowest day of the year for many of us with bills arriving after Christmas, dark nights and pay day yet to arrive, the ZSA is aiming to address that by encouraging everyone to take time out on ‘Blue Monday’ to talk about their troubles over a cuppa.

As part of the national initiative, MFRS will be rolling out the ZSA’s free digital suicide prevention training to their 1,000 staff – including both operational and support staff – to help them build on their existing skills to help those struggling with mental health issues.

Joe Rafferty, co-founder of the ZSA, said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service to help train their staff with the skills to help those who may be struggling with their mental health.

“It doesn’t matter whether you work on the frontline or elsewhere, we all experience friends, loved ones or work colleagues that may be struggling and our free online course, developed with clinical expertise and those with experience of suicide, will help you approach someone who may be considering taking their own life.”

Now in the fifth year of the campaign, almost 200 organisations across the country are holding events to try and get everyone talking so those that need help can access it and make positive steps towards a recovery.

Mark Thomas, Group Manager at MFRS, said: “We understand the challenges that our staff may face so we take very seriously how we support their mental health and wellbeing. We want all of our staff to live happily and healthily both during their time in service and when they have retired.

“Championing mental health isn’t something new at MFRS, but we continue to build on our initiatives and adapt to the needs of all of our staff so that they can look after themselves, their families and of course our communities. Working in partnership with Zero Suicide Alliance, we plan to digitally roll out their suicide prevention training so that every single member of our workforce is aware of the signs and feels confident to help in such a situation.”

Over 6,500 suicides were recorded across the UK in 2018 with every one having a major impact both emotionally and socially on friends, relatives, work colleagues and the local economy.

Since the free training was launched in November 2017, over 420,000 people have accessed it and the Government have pledged to provide £2 million over the next two years to help the ZSA improve suicide prevention in the UK through awareness, training and the development of an innovative digital suicide prevention resource and exploration of cutting edge analytics to predict risk.