WORLD Suicide Prevention Day takes place each year on September 10, and this year the dedicated day was supported by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS).

Teams within the organisation joined forces to raise awareness of mental health and planned a host of activities coinciding with World Suicide Prevention Day.

Between September 4 and September 8 a mental fitness roadshow for firefighters took place across Greater Manchester, which will be followed by a staff conference on September 13 – where managers will learn about building mental fitness in work and in the communities.

GMFRS Assistant County Fire Officer Geoff Harris said: “The activities planned around World Suicide Prevention Day are part of GMFRS’ ongoing commitment to mental health awareness following the signing of MIND’s Blue Light pledge in February this year.

“The aim of the firefighters’ roadshow was to provide an opportunity and space for our front-line staff to think about their own mental fitness. Firefighters heard from previous rugby league players about Offload – a partnership between Salford Red Devils Foundation. They also met representatives from State of Mind and Rugby League Cares, which provides the opportunity to learn mental fitness techniques of professional players.”

Firefighters were provided with information during the roadshow to allow them to signpost colleagues and members of the community to further advice should it be required. They also received an introduction to GMFRS’ new Suicide Prevention Guidance – which will improve knowledge and understanding of suicide and provide guidance on how to manage situations, personally or professionally.

Chair of Greater Manchester Fire Committee, Cllr David Acton, said: “According to national statistics one in four people will experience a mental health challenge each year, meaning that it is highly likely that GMFRS staff members will come into contact with someone who is experiencing mental stress whether at work, at home or out in the community.

“I am proud that GMFRS continues to support awareness surrounding mental health amongst its workforce – which will be of great benefit to both colleagues and members of the community, and also in people’s personal lives.”

The staff conference is also being supported by a number of charities and not-for-profit businesses including State of Mind, Rugby League Cares, Offload Project and STORM training.

You can find out more about World Suicide Prevention Day here: