West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) has signed a pledge to show its commitment to tackling mental health stigma at work.
Organisations who sign up to the pledge agree to promote a better understanding of mental health problems while offering support and wellbeing advice to their staff and volunteers.
WMFS joins a growing number of emergency service employers and associations that have made the promise.
Paul Hinckley, of WMFS’s Occupational Health Team, said: “We have worked closely with Mind, the UK’s leading mental health charity, for almost a year to develop and deliver the Blue Light Programme to all emergency service personnel across the West Midlands.
“The programme has helped us to expand and enhance our work in de-stigmatising mental health, and providing fast-track assistance and support at work for people who need it.
“The invitation to sign the pledge came about after Mind evaluated our mental health action plan, and brings us recognition at a national level. The Mind assessors commented that ours was one of the most comprehensive and robust strategies they had seen.”
The recognition complements WMFS’s wellbeing strategy, which gives employees a charter outlining the ongoing commitment of the organisation to provide health, safety and wellbeing support, coupled with staff members’ responsibility to ensure their own health, fitness and wellbeing.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of mental health charity Mind, said: “Good mental health should be a priority in any workplace but it is especially important that people exposed to traumatic or life-threatening situations – such as those working within the police, ambulance, fire and search and rescue services – receive appropriate support.
“By signing the Blue Light Time to Change pledge, West Midlands Fire Service is helping to fight stigma and promote positive mental health in the emergency services.”
Organisations can register their interest in signing the Blue Light pledge to develop meaningful action plans to support their staff and volunteers, or find out more information about the programme, by emailing [email protected] or visiting www.mind.org.uk/BlueLight