Blue Light Together: Prince William unveils historic mental health support for 999 heroes

November 25, 2021, 11:20 | Updated: November 25, 2021, 13:25

Prince William has unveiled a historic mental health support package for emergency service workers.

He unveiled the Blue Light Together initiative to key figures in the UK’s first aid services at an event in London today.

It’s an issue close to the heart of the Royal, the Duke having worked as an RAF air ambulance and search and rescue pilot.

He announced the mental health support package, bringing together leaders of the UK emergency services to discuss the issue for the first time.

The Duke of Cambridge at today's event alongside Met Chief Cressida Dick

The Duke of Cambridge at today’s event alongside Met Chief Cressida Dick.

Image: Alamy

He said: “Supporting the mental health of our emergency departments is extremely personal to me. I often think of my time working for RAF Search and Rescue and East Anglia Air Ambulance.

“I remember the pressure of attending appeals under the most stressful conditions, sometimes with tragic conclusions.

“I remember the sense of solidarity with my team, coming together to do our best and sharing the burden of responsibility.”

William requested that emergency responders be given mandatory “decompression” breaks as part of their mental health support network.

And he praised the agreement which “sends a powerful message to all emergency responders that mental health is and will remain a top priority for UK emergency services.

“This means that, for the first time, a uniform set of standards to support the mental health of emergency responders will be adopted and integrated into their workplaces,” he said.

Read more: Prince William personally thanks British rescuers on emergency services day

Read more: 999 Day: heroic emergency services honored for life-changing work

In a UK first, the heads of the National Council of Chiefs of Police, the National Council of Fire Chiefs and the Association of Ambulance Chiefs publicly pledged on behalf of their organizations at the Health Symposium Mental Emergency Services of the Royal Foundation.

The Royal Foundation has worked with leaders of emergency services and partner charities to change the mental health workplace culture and provide expert support to emergency responders and their families.

As a result of this initiative, every emergency services organization in the UK:

  • Prioritize mental health in the workplace by developing and delivering a systematic program of activities
  • Proactively ensure that work design and organizational culture drive positive mental health outcomes
  • Promote an open culture around mental health
  • Increase organizational confidence and capacity
  • Provide mental health tools and support
  • Increase transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting

A new website and a network of advisers will also be part of the system.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said at the launch event: “Our emergency services, they represent the best of us, running into danger when most of us run away.

“I am honored to have had the privilege of working closely with three of our emergency services: the ambulance service in my current role as Secretary of Health and also the police and fire department when I was minister. inside.

“I have always found it humiliating to see the extraordinary efforts they make to protect us.”

He went on to say: “There is already so much good work going on – in all of our emergency departments – and today’s event provides a valuable opportunity to learn from each other and what succeeded in our various emergency services. “

“Our emergency services have been there for us throughout this crisis and, as we recover, I and the government are determined to be there for them too and to finally put mental and physical health on a back footing. ‘equality.”

Martin Hewitt, Chairman of the National Council of Chiefs of Police, said: “The well-being of our officers is a priority for all chiefs of police, because we know that policing is inherently stressful and stressful work. that officers are exposed to some of life’s problems. most difficult situations in everyday life.

“The work done by the Royal Foundation, headed by the Duke of Cambridge, is of the utmost importance and we are proud to contribute to it. Such partnerships allow us to make great strides in changing attitudes towards mental health in society, and to provide faster and more effective support to those who need it most.

It follows the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought the stress and tension experienced by rescue workers to public attention.

Images of medics whose personal protective equipment left red marks on their tired faces were interspersed with communities joining together to applaud key workers throughout the lockdown.

Blue Light Together was developed by the Royal Foundation and partner organizations.

The Duke has worked closely with the Senior Leadership Council of Emergency Responders and Charities to find solutions and best practices that will enable rescuers to access support and guidance for the unique challenges they face. are faced.

In September, the Duke hosted an event to thank 999 workers for their efforts and heard from members of the public who were helped by them on Emergency Services Day.

Martin Blunden, the chief officer of the Scottish Fire and Rescue, will speak about his attempt to kill himself.

He told LBC that he wanted to show that you “could get out of these problems” and that he wanted to show that it was OK not to be OK.

He wants to create a culture where staff can voice their mental health issues.

“I know he is committed to supporting us,” he said of the Duke’s initiative.

“He’s a fantastic figure to be leading this, he’s a brilliant person on his own anyway and then to see this being launched for the emergency services is extremely encouraging and it means that we are moving forward in this. the right direction so that all of our staff are supported. “