90% of police personnel have experienced stress or poor mental health while working within the service, and 61% have had personal experience of mental health problems – highest of all blue light services.
Last year, Mind, the mental health charity, was awarded LIBOR funding to deliver the Blue Light Programme, to provide mental health support for emergency services staff and volunteers from police, fire, ambulance and search and rescue services across England up until 31 March 2016. The Blue Light Infoline was set up specifically for emergency service staff, volunteers and their families, providing independent and confidential support, advice and signposting.
The Police Treatment Centres joined 53 Blue Light employers and nine associations who have shown their commitment by signing up to the Blue Light Time to Change pledge. Pledging includes creating an action plan detailing tangible activities senior staff and others will undertake to tackle mental health stigma within their organisation.
"By signing the Blue Light Associations pledge the Police Treatment Centres is helping to fight stigma and promote positive mental health for their staff, volunteers, and the emergency services they support.”
Four Blue Light Mental Health Networks are now being piloted with the help of four of local Minds. These will bring together different elements of the support offered over the past year and learning from this to enable emergency services in the network locations to collaborate and work together on applying our approach.
Each network will support a programme of activity designed to collectively improve access to mental health information and support for all employees across police, search and rescue, fire and ambulance services in that area.
The Blue Light Mental Health Networks are being piloted in the following areas:
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
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Led by a local Mind, each network has investment available to support a programme of activity, designed to collectively improve access to mental health information and support for all employees across emergency services in that area. To ensure join-up with wider community mental health support, the networks will have a dedicated coordinator, based within a local Mind to facilitate cross-sector partnership activity.
Read more about the Blue Light Programme, One Year On.