East of England Ambulance Service has set up a new support network to help men talk openly about working in a frontline emergency service and the impact it can have on their mental health and wellbeing.
Senior paramedics David Walker and John Hammond were among a group of staff who championed the introduction of a staff network for men at the Trust. They hope it will break down the stigma among some men about seeking help, which can lead to issues such as higher suicide rates and being more likely to suffer from substance abuse.
The pair now co-chair the new network and hope it will provide the support and resources to address men’s health issues and help promote a culture of openness and inclusivity within the organisation.
David Walker explained, “I have been working at EEAST since 2015 and have witnessed first-hand the positive impact of our Equality Diversity and Inclusion networks. The Men’s Wellbeing Network is a crucial initiative that aims to address the pressing health issues that affect men.”
Co-chair John Hammond, a senior Paramedic who works out of Saffron Walden ambulance station, added, “Over the last few years, I too have suffered with anxiety and stress. Marriage, having a young family, Covid-19 and just working shifts can all start to build up on you. Thankfully, I was able to open up and search out help but I had to go outside of the work environment to find what I really needed.
“This is why I have for a long time thought that there has been something missing for men within the Trust – a place where men can feel relaxed and open to talk about the issues they are facing, to discuss what is troubling them and ultimately to shout about their successes and wins.”