Yorkshire's firefighters called out to record number of suicide attempts in 2019

Firefighters from across Yorkshire were called to a record number of suicide attempts last year.

Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 11:33 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 11:47 am

Fire crews from North Yorkshire responded to 54 suicides or attempted suicides int he 12 months to September 2019, Home Office statistics revealed.

This was the second highest number of calls for a service in the region after West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service attended 56 incidents.

The four Yorkshire fire and rescue services responded to a total of 160 suicides - South Yorkshire, 37 and Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, 13.

Stock image. JPI Media

Nationally, the 45 fire and rescue services in England responded to 1,969 suicides or attempted suicides - the highest number for any year since records began in 2011 and an increase of nine per cent on the year before.

Mental health charity Mind said the effects of dealing with such traumatic situations could be “severe and long-lasting” for crews.

Vicki Nash, head of policy and campaigns at Mind, said they want to see all emergency services create a culture where staff can talk openly about mental health without “stigma and discrimination”.

She said: “Although fire crews 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 43,796 “collaborating incidents” in the year to September 2019 - 47 per cent more than the equivalent period in 2016.

Almost all fire services across England have seen an increase in situations where they work alongside police and ambulance services, which coincided with the imposed statutory duty on all “blue light” services to work together.

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 the Government is grateful for the continued efforts of firefighters across the country.