South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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A group of firefighters, dressed mostly in shorts and t-shirts, gather for a photo. They are smiling and the sun is shining, with a background of green grass and trees.

Men’s mental health group prepares for Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge

Firefighters from across the country are joining SYFR’s weekly mental health walking group, Walk and Talk 999, in walking the Yorkshire Three Peaks.

The Walk Leaders, Jim Bright, Matt Winslow and Nick Abbott, will be leading the trek on Saturday 10 September in support of World Suicide Prevention Day and to raise money for The Firefighters Charity and Calm Suicide Awareness Charity.

They will be supported by firefighters from the London Fire Brigade and Norwich.

Walk Leader and Group Manager Nick Abbott said: “We’re all very much looking forward to tackling this challenge and for such an important cause.

“We’re incredibly proud of this little community we have built together. We support each other on the good and the bad days and offer a place for men to offload, laugh, cry, joke and rant. We’ll need to be there for each other as we tackle this epic walking challenge!”

Kirsty Thorley, Health and Wellbeing Manager at SYFR said: “We know that across the country, men are struggling with their mental health. Statistics show us that males are 3 times more likely to die from suicide than females and that is why we whole heartedly support the Walk and Talk 999 initiative. It not only helps raise awareness of men’s mental health and boost the wellbeing of our staff but the walks also provide a safe space where people can be supported without judgement, whilst promoting physical activity and taking advantage of fresh air and a change of scenery.

Alex Bowers, Community Fundraiser for The Fire Fighters Charity said: “The Fire Fighters Charity offers specialist, lifelong support for members of the UK fire services community, empowering individuals to achieve mental, physical and social wellbeing throughout their lives.

“We couldn’t do this without the support of individuals, businesses and groups like Walk and Talk 999 taking on challenges and fundraising for us.  If you would like to support The Fire Fighters Charity please visit our website for more information.”

SYFR’s Walk and Talk 999 group is the latest which has been set up after a firefighter from London Fire Brigade, Dean Corney, set up a weekly men’s mental health walking group for firefighters, which helps them to talk about whatever may be troubling them.

Each session starts with a simple check-in circle where people share how they’re feeling on a scale of one to ten. They also share something positive that’s going on in their lives. Everything people say at the session is strictly confidential – and the group are asked not to interrupt or challenge when someone’s speaking.

The Walk and Talk 999 model has been endorsed by the likes of TV’s Dr Rangan Chatterjee and Dr Alex George and has been highlighted as a case study by the mental health charity Mind.

The walks are held every Tuesday at 10am at Graves Park, Sheffield and are open to all male Fire and Rescue and emergency services colleagues (both current and retired).

There is no need to book, just turn up to the meeting point at the Pavilion car park.

This content was last updated on October 10th, 2022