Fire service aims to improve employees’ mental health wellbeing
PUBLISHED: 17:02 14 February 2017
Avon Fire and Rescue Service (AFRS) has pledged more support to its staff over mental health issues.
People working for the emergency services are at a greater risk of experiencing mental health issues than the general population, but are less likely to seek support, according to research.
Mind, the mental health charity, has set up the Blue Light Programme with AFRS to provide mental health support for emergency services staff and volunteers from police, search and rescue, fire and ambulance services across England.
Avon’s chief fire officer, Kevin Pearson, said the nature of the work undertaken by firefighters, and other emergency personnel, can have a lasting impact on them.
He said: “Our staff do an incredibly difficult job and often experience traumatic situations which can have a lasting impact.
“We already have well-established support in place to help staff living with mental health issues, but we know there is still a huge amount of stigma surrounding this illness.”
AFRS is based in Bristol but will be moving administrative staff to Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s base in Portishead later in the year.