A grant made from The Royal Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund has enabled mental health charity to relaunch their Blue Light initiative, delivering a programme of wellbeing support for the emergency services.
The relaunch comes as a survey of 4,000 staff and volunteers in the police, fire and ambulance services conducted by Mind reveals the toll of the pandemic on frontline workers’ mental health. The data shows the increased prevalence of poor mental health across these services, with seven in ten staff and volunteers reporting a worsening of mental health over the past year.
Mental Health has worsened across 999 services, but ambulance staff are worst effected, with only 26% reporting their current mental health was very good or good, compared to just over one in three police and almost two in five survey respondents working in the fire service.
Ambulance staff were also most likely (77%) to say their mental health has worsened since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and one in four 999 staff and volunteers surveyed rated their current mental health as poor or very poor.
Mind’s Blue Light Programme is a series of mental health and wellbeing support for emergency services staff and volunteers across police, fire, ambulance and search and rescue services. The programme includes training and resources to help employers better support hard-working 999 workers who are facing a high prevalence of poor mental health problems, especially in the wake of the pandemic.
The Blue Light Programme was launched in England in March 2015 and in 2019, Mind’s end of programme survey showed signs of positive change in the culture around mental health and wellbeing and the support available for the mental health of Blue Light personnel.
Now, in March 2021, the Blue Light Programme is re-launching, seeking to provide tailored support for the mental health of ambulance, police and fire service staff and volunteers, following the outbreak of coronavirus. This has been funded by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s COVID-19 Response Fund.
The Blue Light Programme will work with local Minds to deliver a pilot of 64 training sessions to line managers and Blue Light Champions, who work to raise awareness and challenge stigma surrounding mental health in the emergency services.
Together with Mind, we will work with emergency responders to challenge stigma surrounding mental health, as well as media and public attitudes about the work of emergency responders during the pandemic. Visit org.uk/bluelight or follow @Mindbluelight for updates.