Case study

Four first responders share their mental health stories

6 mins

Almost nine in 10 of emergency personnel have experienced stress and poor mental health at work. However, there is help available. Four emergency responders have shared their stories how they have built a mentally healthy culture in their organisation.

I talk openly about it in the hope I give people the confidence to be able to come forward

Darren, from the London Fire Brigade, has suffered from mental ill health for as long as he can remember. However, being able to talk about the stresses he experiences has helped him a lot.

He now visits London Fire Brigade stations and departments to talk about his experiences. With help from senior officers and his commissioner, he has set up a mental health support group for staff and their families, named United Minds.

I have never worked for an organisation with senior managers who are so approachable

Liz, from the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST), is very grateful for the support and understanding of the senior managers within the organisation.

Training, help from Blue Light Champions and informal one-to-one chats have helped shape WAST’s culture to one that is positive and proactive about mental health.

I decided to be open with the team and tell them about my diagnosis

Vicky first took up her role at Dartmoor Search and Rescue (Plymouth) as part of her recovery​Manager support for return to work following long-term sickness absence PDF Following the introduction of 'fit notes' to encourage those on long-term sick leave to make an early return to work, this guide focuses on the key behaviours managers need to support employees.Free By: CIPD View resource from biploar disorder. Talking about her mental health problems helped fellow team members open up about their own personal struggles.

Three of her team have now trained as Mental health First Aiders, so they are able to help their colleagues if they start to struggle. They also use wellness action plans (WAPs)​Setting up a Wellness Action Plan (WAP) Web page Wellness Action Plans (WAPs) are for everyone, not just someone who has a problem right now. For all of us, it’s important to stay aware of our mental health work, and a WAP can help with this. This guide shows what to consider.Free By: Bupa UK View resource to ensure managers can look out for their staff.

We had previously underestimated the effects of mental ill health on our staff

John from West Yorkshire Police’s own mental health experiences led him to develop a peer support programme to help others.

He has been working with his local Mind in Leeds to implement a programme of peer support across his force. Staff are now happier to come forward and discuss any mental health concerns they have.

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