As part of the programme, 21 members of staff from across the county have signed up as ambassadors, with each having attended specialist courses to equip them with the skills required to provide confidential support to colleagues who are experiencing difficulties.
A launch event for the new programme took place at Leamington Fire Station to acknowledge the importance of improving mental health and wellbeing in the fire and rescue service and creating a support network within the organisation where people feel safe to talk.
Talking about the scheme, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Services Chief Fire Officer, Kieran Amos said:
“As a fire and rescue service we spend our days working to protect the communities we serve and keeping people safe. However, we are not always great at making sure that we look after ourselves. Which is why having a network of wellbeing ambassadors who can act as a listening ear for their colleagues when they are most in need, couldn’t be more important to us. Through this new initiative we hope to remove the stigma around mental health, not just amongst our own staff, but also to the wider public. For me, this couldn’t be more poignant in the Year of Wellbeing and I am confident that it will have a very positive impact on the service.”
Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Fire and Rescue and Community Safety, Andy Crump said:
“Improving mental health and wellbeing is key, especially in an environment where trauma is experienced on a regular basis. All the wellbeing ambassadors have made a significant commitment to supporting their colleagues and have been trained to understand the important factors affecting mental health and general wellbeing, enabling them to identify signs and symptoms to help them to facilitate supportive conversations.
“I applaud the fire and rescue service for launching such an innovative scheme and I hope that it will make a real difference to anyone who accesses the service.”