Cleveland Fire Brigade signs up to mental health anti-stigma pledge

Blue Light Programme

Blue Light Programme

Cleveland Fire Brigade today became the latest organisation to join the growing number of emergency service employers and associations showing their commitment to ending mental health stigma and discrimination in the workplace by signing the Blue Light Time to Change pledge.

The signing ceremony took place at Cleveland Fire Brigade Headquarters in Hartlepool. The Chair of the Fire Authority, Councillor Jan Brunton and the Chief Fire Officer, Ian Hayton pledged their support to the Blue Light Programme confirming that they would promote a better understanding of mental health problems while offering support and wellbeing advice to their staff.

Ian Hayton, Chief Fire Officer, said: “Our employees are exposed to a wide range of traumatic and stressful situations and it is vital that their mental health is regarded with the same importance as their physical health.

“By signing up to the pledge, we are demonstrating that we want to make our working environment one where people can talk openly about their issues and are able to obtain the necessary help they need.

“We have numerous practices and systems in place including comprehensive occupational health arrangements. The action plan includes initiatives that will further our work and support in this important area.”

Councillor Jan Brunton, Chair of Cleveland Fire Authority, added: “By signing the Pledge we are demonstrating our commitment to empowering our staff to be knowledgeable and speak openly about mental health in order that they feel valued and supported in managing their own wellbeing. I believe it will help break down the barriers and stigma attached to mental illness that can prevent people from getting the support they need.”

Cleveland Fire Authority joins the wide movement of emergency service employers and associations that have pledged to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination, including 63 organisations that signed as part of the Blue Light Programme in 2015 to 16.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “Not only are many of our blue light personnel struggling with their mental health, but they’re less likely to seek support or have time off sick than the general workforce. 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, Cleveland Fire Brigade is helping to fight stigma and promote positive mental health in emergency services.”