MIND Blue Light Programme relaunched

New research from MIND about the mental health impacts on emergency responders shows the Blue Light Programme is still needed.

The 2021 MIND Blue Light Covid-19 Response Report revealed that 69% of emergency responders said their mental health had worsened since the start of the pandemic and a quarter described their current mental health as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.

Increased workloads and more exposure to traumatic events were cited as key reasons why mental health has deteriorated throughout the pandemic.

The report did find positive signs that the culture around mental health is changing among emergency responders, and more people have felt able to talk openly about their mental health over the last year.

However, there are still barriers to emergency responders accessing support. These include fears around confidentiality, worries about the impact on their career, and self-stigma.

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 wellbeing of the UK’s emergency responders.

Speaking after the launch of this research, Dr Jill Tolfrey, Chief Executive 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 frontline 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. While we have had to move our mental health services online during the pandemic, we have supported thousands 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.

My message to anyone facing a challenge to their mental wellbeing today is therefore simple. We are here for you. Please pick up the phone or get in touch through our website and we will do whatever we can to help you.

Mind launched the Blue Light Programme in 2015 to provide mental health support to emergency services staff and volunteers across England and Wales. The new funding means that the programme will continue for the next 12 months.

For more information visit: Blue Light Programme.

Members of the fire and rescue services in need of support with their mental wellbeing can call The Fire Fighters Charity’s Support Line on 0800 3898820 or visit www.firefighterscharity.org.uk/support