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"I always thought I'm a man I can deal with this"

"I always thought I'm a man I can deal with this"

Published by Grace Mcgachy
5:30am 11th September 2019.

Photo credit: Norfolk Fire and Rescue

He's saving lives and keeping us safe every single day. 

But just because John works for the fire service as an operational support officer based at King's Lynn North it doesn't mean he's immune to mental health issues.

Today as part of KLFM's mental health feature we're looking at how working as a frontline emergency service worker can affect your mental health.

John talks about his mental health experience here

"I got a point where I realised I needed some help, I'd got myself into a very bad place.

I realised something wasn't right, things were starting to affect me, finding it difficult to concentrate at work or dreading what was going to be the next emergency.

It got to a point at work one day and I think I was on verge really of a breakdown."

Norfolk fire and rescue north lynn

Research from mental health charity mind shows heavy workloads, traumatic incidents and pressure can all affect your mental wellbeing at work or make an existing problem worse. 

John knows first hand how devstating the effects of mental health can be: 

"My sister took her own life.

She'd had mental health issues over the years and suffered with a lot of depression.

The saddest part was she was the life and soul of any party, she'd walk in a room and make people laugh she was absolutely hilarious but underneath that it was very sad.

Seen it happen a lot of times in the job  but to have it happen in the family was a real kind of shock to theystem." 

john linden norfolk fire and rescue single use
Credit: NFRS

John told KLFM he received a lot of support from his managers at the Fire Service and from Norfolk County Council, he took time off of work and had counselling. 

He now feels he can cope with his mental health a lot better but it's something he has to work on every day. 

But he was reluctant to accept help at first: 

"I was always thought I don't want to come forward you know I'm a man I can deal with this surely.

But you soon actually realise that there's lots of other people suffering out there lots of males.

I'm glad I cam forward really and I'm glad I can try and help other people."

Credit: NFRS

Last year Norfolk Fire and Rescue signed the Mind Blue Light Pledge to its commitment to supporting staff's mental health. 

The Blue Light Programme provides 999 staff and volunteers with support and information about mental health, and challenges how we all think and feel about mental health in the workplace through the pledge.

Norfolk County Council also encourages us to use the five ways to wellbeing which offers advice on how we can make ourselves feel good.

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