Firefighter shares mental health advice on Time to Talk Day
An Essex County Fire and Rescue Service firefighter is sharing mental health advice on Time to Talk Day to encourage people to reach out for support when they need it.
We can all struggle with mental health issues, no matter who you are. Many people label firefighters as heroes and for some, living up to that expectation can mean they don’t reach out for support when they need it.
“There is still a stigma in society and in all organisations around talking about how we feel: “It’s a sign of weakness”, “I don’t want to expose a flaw”, “I’m afraid it will affect my progression,” says Watch Manager Andre Turner.
Andre has come to the realisation over the past year that he hasn't been his true self and on this year's Time to Talk Day, his advice is to be honest with yourself.
“By being honest about our feelings, we are being honest with ourselves,” says Andre. “That’s why is it important to talk.”
“Everyone needs to talk, to offload and to express themselves. If it is kept bottled up then it’s like a can of cola being shook up. Eventually it will pop. It is so important to control the pressure at an early stage by being honest with yourself.”
The theme for this year’s Time to Talk Day is The Power of Small and Andre recommends starting a small conversation about your feelings.
“Remember the saying: “A problem shared is a problem halved” and it’s true. Just by talking about your feelings and thoughts you will lift a weight from your shoulders.
“Since beginning my mental awareness journey in “Lockdown one”, I have spoken about my feelings twice. These were the first times in 20 years because until then I had bottled it up. I was too afraid to talk, but I’m not now.If I need help, I will be honest with myself and ask.”
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has support available for colleagues and encourages employees to seek support when they need it.
For mental health support in Essex, visit: www.essex.gov.uk/mental-health/get-help-and-support
Page last updated 4 February, 2020