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3 July 2019, 12:04
Mental health support will be provided to front-line emergency service workers following the extension of a wellbeing programme.
The Lifelines Scotland initiative will cover Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Scottish Ambulance Service and will be backed by funding of £138,000 from the Scottish Government.
It will provide online information and resources for workers and their friends and family, as well as training courses and resources to help organisations embed wellbeing into the workplace.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: "Our emergency services work hard to keep people across Scotland safe every day and like all our NHS staff, their welfare is crucially important.
"They often face challenging and dangerous situations, which can have an impact on mental wellbeing.
"Extending the Lifelines Scotland programme will support the resilience and welfare of front-line responder staff in blue light services across the country to ensure they feel supported, informed and valued."
Lifelines Scotland was initially established in 2016 by NHS Lothian's specialist trauma service, the Rivers Centre.
Speaking on behalf of the emergency services, Linda Douglas from the Scottish Ambulance Service said: "Tens of thousands of people work for Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Scottish Ambulance Service, providing vital services to our communities, saving lives and making a real difference every day.
"However, their jobs can be physically, emotionally and psychologically demanding. Each of the emergency services take the mental health and wellbeing of their staff extremely seriously and offer staff access to a range of support services and information.
"We all welcome the extension of the Lifelines Scotland initiative to front-line staff as this funding will enable us to boost the support available to emergency responders."
Gill Moreton, of the Rivers Centre, said: "The Rivers Centre team has worked with blue light colleagues for almost 20 years and are passionate about supporting the wellbeing of emergency responders.
"We are delighted to be extending Lifelines Scotland and are looking forward to working together to create wellbeing resources and training materials for all of Scotland's emergency responders."