Charity welcomes research into mental health impact of pandemic on UK Fire and Rescue Service personnel
12 April 2021
THE CONTINUED need for The Fire Fighters Charity’s mental health support services has been highlighted with the publication of research claiming that 65% of the UK’s Fire and Rescue Service personnel have seen a deterioration in their mental health during the pandemic.
The study, conducted by Mind’s re-launched Blue Light Programme – of which The Fire Fighters Charity is a partner – finds that mental health has worsened across all 999 services, with 20% of Fire and Rescue Service personnel currently rating their mental health as either poor or very poor.
Funded by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Blue Light Programme brings together The Fire Fighters Charity, The Ambulance Staff Charity, Police Care UK and Mind to further the mental health and well-being of the UK’s emergency responders.
The Blue Light Programme was originally launched in 2015, but has subsequently been relaunched to support Emergency Services personnel in light of the Coronavirus crisis.
Speaking about the research, Dr Jill Tolfrey (CEO of The Fire Fighters Charity) said: “We commend Mind and the Blue Light Programme on the publication of this latest research, which once again highlights the incredible pressures faced by those who work across our Fire and Rescue Services. COVID-19 has amplified these pressures for many on the front line and brought new mental health challenges for others. As ever, our role at The Fire Fighters Charity is to ensure that we are always here for those in need.”
Tolfrey continued: “While we have had to move our mental health services online during the pandemic, we’ve supported thousands of individuals through virtual consultations over the past year and will continue to do so, while also bringing back our face-to-face services over the weeks to come.”
In conclusion, Tolfrey commented: “My message to anyone facing a challenge to their mental well-being is simple. We’re here for you. Please pick up the telephone or contact us through our website and we will do whatever we can to assist you.”
As well as supporting The Blue Light Programme, The Fire Fighters Charity is also proud to sit on The Royal Foundation’s Emergency Responder Senior Leaders Board which seeks to promote collaborative working across the nation’s Emergency Services to ensure that all emergency responders receive the mental health support they need. The organisation has also partnered with The Royal Foundation to support Shout, a 24/7 crisis text line that can be accessed by texting BLUELIGHT to 85258. It also supports Our Front Line, offering 24/7 one-to-one support for those in need. The latter service is accessible via 0800 0407973.
*Members of the Fire and Rescue Services in need of support with their mental well-being can call The Fire Fighters Charity’s Support Line on 0800 3898820 or visit www.firefighterscharity.org.uk/support
**Visit mind.org.uk/bluelight for more detail on The Blue Light Programme