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Today is Time to Talk Day, the nation’s biggest mental health conversation by the charity Mind. Happening every year, it’s a day for friends, families, communities, and workplaces to come together to talk, listen and change lives.

Freddie and Lisa Web

On 2 February 2017, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) signed the Blue Light Time to Change pledge. Joining the growing number of emergency service employers and associations showing their commitment to empowering staff to seek help when they need it and talk about their own mental health. As part of the pledge, staff who volunteered were trained to become Blue Light Champions and support colleagues and signpost to further resources that staff can access.

Over the years, HFRS has continued to build its range of resources to support the staff’s mental health and wellbeing. More recently in 2021, Head of Occupational Health and Wellbeing Lisa Smith, introduced the Service’s first wellbeing dog, Freddie.

Lisa said “Myself and Freddie have been trained by the national OK9 wellbeing and trauma support dog network. As a Service we make sure that our staff can talk about their experiences following an incident or a series of incidents.

“As an emergency service, our staff are frequently exposed to trauma and by having Freddie at these sessions, he can help to get people talking. It’s important that our staff are supported, so they can help our communities when called.

Our staff have found these sessions to be really beneficial and Freddie is great at providing a distraction, and he also loves the attention.”

However, it is important that everyone talks about mental health not just our staff. Crews often attend incidents where members of the public may have been exposed to trauma, so they carry NHS leaflets with guidance on how to cope with trauma and a list of contacts for people to talk about what they have experienced.

To find out more follow the link below.

Help and support after a traumatic event: