‘Nine in ten’ emergency service staff members affected by poor mental health

SECAMB vehicles SUS-140228-090646001

SECAMB vehicles SUS-140228-090646001

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Firefighters, police officers and paramedics who experience trauma are ‘more likely’ to have mental health problems – according to a mental health charity.

Coastal West Sussex Mind has revealed 90 per cent of emergency services staff have experienced stress and poor mental health.

Many have to deliver bad news on a daily basis.

Elaine Colomberg, Coastal West Sussex Mind

The charity is providing a resilience course for staff who work in the emergency services.

The course is part of Mind’s Blue Light programme – which aims to raise awareness of mental health for those in Sussex Police, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb).

“Those on the front line have to deal with traumatic events on a daily basis, so it’s no wonder that anxiety, stress and mental health problems are commonplace,” said Elaine Colomberg, training manager at Coastal West Sussex Mind.

“Many have to deliver bad news on a daily basis. Or some sustain injuries while doing their job.

“That’s why it’s so important that support is available.

“We feel privileged to be delivering this new resilience initiative and playing a part in making a difference to the lives of emergency service personnel, their colleagues and close family members.”

Coastal West Sussex Mind operates in Shoreham, Worthing, Littlehampton, Bognor Regis, Midhurst and Chichester.

The six week course should help staff cope with the pressure that comes with their roles.

A spokesperson for Coastal West Sussex Mind said: “Topics such as stress management, relationship issues, social pressures and managing difficult emotions such as anger will be part of the course.

“Developing effective coping strategies can help staff and volunteers to continue performing their roles well, and reduce the chance of more serious mental health problems developing.

“One in four people experience a mental health problem every year and emergency services personnel are even more likely to be affected.”

A recent Mind survey of over 3,600 emergency services staff and volunteers found that nearly nine in ten had experienced stress, low mood and poor mental health.

The first course offered by Coastal West Sussex Mind begins on May 28, 2015, and will be held at Coastal West Sussex Mind’s Head office in Durrington.

Emergency services staff and volunteers in Sussex can sign up for the course here www.mind.org.uk/BlueLightCourse

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