14/05/2018

“It’s about three simple words, how are you?”

Cleveland Police has worked with partners to mark Mental Health Awareness Week  with the launch of a film which discusses the impact of stress on emergency services personnel.

The focus for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (May 14-20) is stress. National figures from MIND say that 43 per cent of emergency services personnel have taken time off work due to poor mental health.

Inspector Phil Spencer is Cleveland Police’s Blue Light Coordinator. The Blue Light scheme is in partnership with charity MIND and focuses on signposting colleagues to support with their mental wellbeing.

Inspector Spencer is behind a film which sees colleagues from Cleveland Police, MIND, Cleveland Fire Brigade, the RNLI, NEAS and the Harbour Police talking candidly about stress and resilience.

Inspector Spencer said: “Mental Health Awareness Week is another opportunity to break down the stigma for anyone facing difficulties with their mental health.

“Across the emergency services we can face difficult jobs which stay with you long after your shift has ended. We want colleagues to recognise the power of asking their workmate, how are you?”

The film features powerful comments such as a firefighter acknowledging, ‘some people think we’re hard as nails, we’re not we’re human’.

A colleague from Cleveland Mountain Rescue also explains that in common with all emergency services ‘we’re people helping other people’ and the nature of their role can make rescue services uniquely vulnerable to mental ill health.

Torch relay

At the end of Mental Health Awareness Week Inspector Spencer will be joined by colleagues for the second year running to take part in ‘Our Blue Light’ a torch relay throughout the north of England to promote awareness of mental health.

The torch will be carried through the Cleveland area between May 21 and 28. This will include the torch being carried on the ‘White Rose Walk’, the 35-mile stretch between Kilburn and Newton under Roseberry. Walkers from the police and other partners are renaming it the Blue Rose Walk for the day and will be collecting sponsorship for the MIND Blue Light Programme and charity Heads Together.