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As part of Mental Health Awareness week (9 – 14 May) Humberside Fire and Rescue Service hosted a Mental Health Awareness Conference for their staff at the KCOM Stadium in Hull.

The event, held on Monday 9 May, was a huge success with over 200 people attending. Many of the key-note speakers on the day, which included ex-Hull City Player, Dean Windass and former NHS Director of mental health, Mandy Stevens, gave very honest and open accounts of their own battle with mental illness.

Former NHS Director of mental health Mandy Stevens, who had worked in the mental health sector for 29 years, gave a moving account of her own personal journey: “I am recovering from the most terrible depression that ripped my heart and soul out of me. There is no immunity, mental illness can come out of nowhere and affect anyone at any time.”

Ex-Hull City Player Dean Windass, describe his as experience: “It was one of the darkest times of my life, but with the right help you can get through it, I did.”

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Chris Blacksell said: “The purpose of the conference was to encourage people to openly talk about mental health and bury some of the myths associated with it. As an organisation, we have more days lost to mental health issues than any other cause so we are committed to making changes to improve this and to support any of our staff affected by these issues."

For more information about mental health awareness visit