Never before have so many emergency service organisations across the UK come together to highlight and support the mental health of their emergency services’ workforce.
The event, which follows on from the hugely successful inaugural symposium hosted last year by The Royal Foundation of The Prince and Princess of Wales, will showcase the progress that has been made one year on from when the Chief Officers of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, National Fire Chiefs Councils, Association of Ambulance Chief Executives and HM Coastguard all signed the Mental Health at Work Commitment for the emergency services and made a public pledge to address the mental health and wellbeing of their respective workforces. HM Coastguard will also continue to work with and encourage the voluntary search and rescue family to promote wellbeing and good mental health.
This year’s symposium will be hosted by former BBC Breakfast presenter, Dr Sian Williams, who is also a chartered psychologist currently working in the NHS.
Sian said: “Protecting the mental health of our emergency services is vital. Our blue light workers are life savers, but to do their job properly, they need all of us to think and talk about how best we can support them. This conference is a great start - a place to listen and learn, to share ideas and discuss new ways of working and I'm thrilled to be part of it.”
Key speakers at the 2022 Symposium include practitioners, senior leaders, frontline staff and subject-matter experts from a wide range of 999 services and organisations from across the UK. By bringing people together to connect, share learning and showcase work, attendees will discover how to maximise the impact they can have on improving wellbeing within their own organisations.
As well as a lived experience panel with members from three emergency services, there will also be sessions on how to get active, family support, managing fatigue and supporting new recruits. For those attendees wanting the chance to unwind the ‘wellbeing hub’ promises to offer some much-needed R&R and for those in search of a little more excitement there are racetrack tours, podium visits and car driving experiences.
Tracy Nicholls, Chief Executive of the College of Paramedics said: “I am delighted that the College of Paramedics has been able to facilitate the symposium this year. It is becoming increasingly evident that the nature of continued pressure and demand on our members requires us to really commit to the provision of wellbeing services.
“This year’s event really is like no other. As well as the range of speakers, presenters and physical activities on offer, it gives attendees the opportunity to share ideas for the future and to meet new people going through the same struggles. One year on from The Royal Foundation launch of the Mental Health at Work Commitment pledge I am looking forward to hearing how employers of our people have changed their ways of working to support the health and wellbeing of those who work or volunteer for them.”
She added: “I believe the symposium will be a truly uplifting event at a time of great societal uncertainty. I am confident that it will provide a real boost for our 999 services and those implementing the changes, as you cannot fail to be inspired by the possibility of positive change and that together, we can make that change a reality.”
Daren Mochrie, Chair of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives said: “Healthy ambulance staff are integral to the services we provide to patients which is why this symposium, hosted by the College of Paramedics on behalf of the emergency services and partner organisations, is so timely and welcome. Bringing together all the organisations that are best placed and committed to supporting ambulance staff, as well as their colleagues in other emergency services can only be positive.”
Mark Hardingham, Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council said: “The public expect the blue light services to work together, we work best when we do so together, so why should that be any different on such a critical issue as mental health and wellbeing? The symposium provides another fantastic opportunity to build relationships across our services, learn from one another and take what has worked and what hasn’t back to our respective teams.”
Martin Hewitt, Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council said: “I am very excited to be part of this Emergency Services Mental Health Symposium which could never be more important. All of our staff have been under such pressure over recent years, and it is a great opportunity to have representatives from all services attend to share experiences, learning from what we have all done so far, and re-affirming our commitment to continually improve.”
If you are lucky enough to be attending this event, please come and say hello to the team and meet some of our OK9 wellbeing and trauma support dogs.