UK fire staff on long-term mental health leave figures shoot up by 30%

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Cropped image of depressed man at the psychotherapist. Doctor is making notes while listening to his patient

Figures have shown that over the last six years, the number of UK fire and rescue staff who are taking long-term sick leave due to mental health illnesses has shot up by a third.
In London alone, that figure has doubled since 2011/12, and 103 London fire staff have taken mental health leave this year alone, some of whom were working at Grenfell Tower after the tragic blaze took place there.
Following the figures, the Home Office have come out and claimed that it’s the responsibility of the fire services to put sufficient wellbeing services in place.
Data was provided by two thirds of fire services in the UK, after 5 live Investigates submitted a Freedom of Information request, which was ultimately successful.
The data reveals that over the last six years, the number of firefighters – and indeed, other staff members – that have taken long-term mental health leave has jumped from 600 to 780, and at least 126 members of staff have completely left the fire service as a result of mental health issues since 2011.
The London Fire Brigade commander for Lambeth, Richard Welch, said that as a result of what happened at Grenfell Tower – where 60 people out of an expected 80 have been pronounced as deceased – 200 of their staff had opted to have counselling, and of those 200, 80 of which are still seeing their counsellors.
As for the rest of the UK, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service only provided comparable figures for one full year in the data, and this showed that in 2016/17, 97 Scottish fire staff had taken long-term mental health leave. Meanwhile, over in Northern Ireland, 111 staff members had taken extended leave as a result of mental health.

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