Mental health focus for NHS and fire service

PUBLISHED: 13:04 01 February 2017 | UPDATED: 13:25 01 February 2017

Avon Fire and Rescue Service has signed the Blue Light Pledge.

Avon Fire and Rescue Service has signed the Blue Light Pledge.

Archant

Healthcare leaders in North Somerset are encouraging people to open up about mental health issues – at the same time Avon Fire and Rescue Service has pledged more support to its staff.

North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) wants to get people talking openly about mental health as part of Time To Talk Day tomorrow (Thursday).

A Time To Talk event will be held at Weston General Hospital, in Grange Road, all day tomorrow.

The CCG wants to increase participation in its therapy groups and raise awareness of mental health issues with men older than 65 and 16 and 17-year-olds who might not seek help.

Sue Baker, director of Time To Change, said: “We know that face-to-face contact with someone who has experienced a mental health problem – who can talk openly and confidently about it – is key to transforming our understanding and attitudes and we want to start conversations all over the country.”

The event is taking place just a week after the fire service signed up to the Blue Light Pledge, a scheme set up by mental health charity Mind.

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.

Chief fire officer, Kevin Pearson, 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.”

He said the pledge is about raising the profile of mental health so people feel comfortable seeking help.

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