Wiltshire firefighters respond to record number of suicide attempts

Wiltshire firefighters respond to record number of suicide attempts

Published by Henrietta Creasey at 5:36am 26th February 2020. (Updated at 6:08am 26th February 2020)

3 minute read

Home office stats show it's the same picture for Hampshire Fire and Rescue service too.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service responded to 66 suicides or attempted suicides in the 12 months to September last year.

It's the highest number since the two services merged in 2016 and is 18 more than the year before.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue were also called to a record number of suicide attempts last year too.

Crews responded to 56 incidents, 22 more than the year before.

Hampshire Fire Engine (Henrietta Creasey)
Hampshire firefighters have also responded to a record number of suicide attempts.

Across England, fire and rescue services responded to 1,969 suicides - the sixth successive yearly increase nationwide.

They make up part of a growing number of "collaborating incidents" that fire stations have to respond to alongside other emergency services, since the Policing and Crime Act became law in 2017.

In the 12-month period to September 2016, Dorset and Wiltshire firefighters responded to 22 suicide callouts.

Vicki Nash, head of policy and campaigns at mental health charity Mind says dealing with traumatic situations can take its toll on staff.

"Although those working within fire and rescue services are trained to attend these kinds of events, the effects of witnessing trauma can, in some cases, be severe and long-lasting. So it’s crucial staff are able to access support for their mental health from their employer."

The most recent figures show crews dealt with a total of 1,425 "collaborating incidents" in Dorset and Wiltshire in the year to September 2019  more than three times the equivalent period in 2016.

Almost all fire services across England have seen an increase in situations where they must work alongside the police and ambulance services

A spokeswoman for the National Fire Chiefs Council said the duty to collaborate means emergency services can decide the best way to work together for the benefit of their own communities.

She said: 

"These statistics show the broad range of incidents firefighters attend on a daily basis and the vital work they undertake. It is vital that the right support mechanisms are readily available and accessible as required."

A Home Office spokesman said they are grateful for the continued tireless efforts of firefighters across the country.

REMINDER OF HELP AVAILABLE

 

Mind - call 0300 123 3393 or text 86463 (9am to 6pm on weekdays)
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men. Call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day

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