Published 15 January 2024
National Fire Chiefs Council support Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service to lead the way in tackling poor mental health in the community
Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS), with the support of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), has become the first fire and rescue service in the UK to become a signatory of the refreshed Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health – a public pledge that they have both a commitment and an action plan to tackle preventable poor mental health in their community.
Organisations signed up to the national agreement, overseen by the Office for Health and Improvement Disparities (OHID), recognise factors such as unemployment, debt and drug misuse increase a person’s chances of having poor mental health. NFCC, who achieved Concordat status in 2019, via their Mental Health Board, has worked with OHID to develop a framework to support other fire and rescue services to help achieve Prevention Concordat status.
Successful signatories to the Concordat pledge to:
- Work across sectors with a wide range of partners to reduce the risks of preventable poor mental health.
- Use evidence to target resources where they are needed most.
- Share good practice so others can implement successful initiatives and use regular monitoring and reporting to ensure action plans deliver improvements for communities.
Mark Thomas, Mental Health Lead for NFCC, commented: “I am delighted to see NFCC and Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service confirm their ongoing commitment to collaborating with partners to promote good mental health through a prevention-focused approach.
“Members of our communities suffering from poor mental health are often at greater risk of coming to harm and therefore require prevention related assistance. Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service, and future Services signing up to principles of the Concordat, are sending a clear message that effective prevention can only be secured through a collaborative approach ensuring, wherever possible, ‘every contact counts’.”
In its review of Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service’s application, which outlined cross-sector prevention and people-centred actions they will take to improve mental wellbeing and create resilient communities, the Prevention Concordat Assessment Panel:
- Acknowledged that LFRS is an active member of the Lincolnshire ICS mental health workstream and that a significant portion of work concerning population level needs assessment would have happened in that forum.
- Was impressed with the breadth of the work concerning key vulnerable groups such as dementia and older adults.
- Recognised the internal offers of mental health support for fire and rescue service staff with identified MHFAs as an example of good practice.
- Was clear that a lot of partnership work was present across both local government and the NHS to inform LFRS’ practice and priorities concerning mental health.
- Welcomed the work as a submission from a sector currently not represented on the concordat with the presence of important evidence-based initiatives to improve public mental health, drive future practice, and how learning might be shared with other partners in England.
Dan Moss, Area Manager for Prevention and Protection at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This concordat offers a unique opportunity to fully integrate our work as a Service with those partner organisations who also act to ensure the safety and security of those with mental health problems. We take our responsibilities under the concordat very seriously, and we’re proud to be the first fire and rescue service to achieve this status.”
He added: “Mental Health is just as important as physical health and we as a fire and rescue service, have a role to play in our community to support this and work to reduce health inequalities.”
One in six adults experiences at least one diagnosable mental health problem in their lifetime. This is influenced by the environment in which people are born, grow, live, and work. This means many of these problems can be prevented. Signatories to the Prevention Concordat for Mental Health aim to address these wider determinants of mental wellbeing and work towards achieving a fairer and more equal society.