Fire service supports mental health

Back row: Shyela Sanders, Martin Bell, Leanne Stanners and Peter Stanners. Front row: Sophie Thompson and Nina Livings.
Back row: Shyela Sanders, Martin Bell, Leanne Stanners and Peter Stanners. Front row: Sophie Thompson and Nina Livings.

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service is running a pilot initiative aimed at offering further support to former students from the Prince’s Trust Team programme.

Five students who still wish to improve their confidence and deal with low levels of self esteem and feelings of anxiety and depression are meeting every Thursday afternoon for 12 weeks to share their experiences and to discuss and practise strategies for overcoming personal challenges which affect their health and wellbeing.

The students have been influential in the design of the programme by identifying the key areas they want to focus on as well as the duration of the course and frequency of meetings they feel will work best for them. Some examples of topics which have been covered so far are negative thinking, assertiveness, mindfulness and health and wellbeing.

In between each session, members of the group practice techniques they have discussed as a group and record how it has made a difference in their own personal workbook.

The group is currently focusing on employability skills and how their increased confidence and coping strategies can help them in the process of applying for jobs and increase job satisfaction.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Hedley said: “Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service has identified an opportunity to re-engage with young people and offer a more bespoke programme of support which has involved listening to what young people feel the issues are for them and acting on it.

“In view of National Safe Week, I think this type of provision is important to consider. Addressing the health and wellbeing issues which affect our young people can help them lead happier and safer lives.”