EXTRA mental health support will be offered to the borough’s firefighters.
British Red Cross specialists will provide fire crews with psychosocial support following traumatic incidents and more than a dozen staff from across South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue will be trained up as peer support workers.
The plans are part of the fire service’s first ever health and wellbeing strategy and will put in place extra measures to supercharge support, ditch stigmas and change the culture around mental illness.
The service said it would invest in a 24/7 telephone counselling service, which any member of staff could contact for issues ranging from stress and anxiety, to money worries.
It said more information would be made available to staff, telling them where they could get extra help if they were struggling with their mental health either inside or outside of work.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson said: “Mental health has never had a higher profile nationally, but it’s a particularly important issue when talking about 999 staff who deal with traumatic incidents almost every day.
“We already offered lots of support to our staff, but it’s only right that we look to continually review and update the support we offer, adopting learning from other sectors and making our organisation the best it can possibly be as a place of work.”
The fire service already has its own in-house occupational health unit, access to counselling services, staff support networks and MIND Blue Light Champions — volunteers with an interest in mental health who can offer a listening ear.
A recent Mind survey found 85 per cent of fire and rescue workers had experienced stress or poor mental health while working for the emergency services.