Mental health award for fire service

SOUTH Yorkshire Fire and Rescue has been honoured at the House of Lords for its work to recognise mental health issues in young people.

In partnership with NHS Rotherham, front line staff from the fire service receive training on how to spot signs of metal health problems in the people they visit.

The work has brought the service the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) charity’s Champion Award.

SYFR watch manager Steve Wood from the Lifewise Centre at Hellaby collected the prize from Falklands war hero Simon Weston and MHFA patron Professor Lord Patel of Bradford, at a ceremony at the House of Lords.

Mr Wood said: “We’re very proud of our partnership with NHS Rotherham which recognises that the role of our staff goes far beyond fire safety education.”

“Through our community work we probably have more one-to-one contact with local people in their own homes than any other agency, so it makes sense that we’re given additional skills which could ultimately lead to someone receiving the help that they need.”

MHFA judges said SYFR was honoured ‘in recognition of its commitment to increasing mental health literacy.’

The partnership involves health professionals from NHS Rotherham giving training to SYFR community safety staff and firefighters, about how to spot signs of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

It began in the middle of last year and is still running.

MHFA England was developed and launched in 2006 in England by the Department of Health.