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EEAST supporting male colleagues with wellbeing network launch

Date: 20 July 2023

David Walker, co-chair of the Men's Wellbeing Network which has been launched at EEAST

A new support network to help men talk openly about any challenges they face has been launched at the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST).

The Men’s Wellbeing Network, which met for the first time this week, provides a forum for emergency services staff to discuss the impact working in a frontline emergency service can have on mental health and wellbeing.  

Senior paramedics David Walker and John Hammond were among a group of colleagues who championed the introduction of a staff network for men at the Trust. They hope to 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 Trust.

David Walker, who works out of Loughton ambulance station, said:

“I have been working at EEAST since 2015 and have witnessed first-hand the positive impact of our Equality Diversity and Inclusion [EDI] networks. 

“The Men’s Wellbeing Network is a crucial initiative that aims to address the pressing health issues that affect men.

“I am proud to be the first Co-Chair of the network and I believe that this is where we need to start to make a meaningful difference. By working together, we can help improve men's health and well-being.”

Fellow co-chair John Hammond, a senior Paramedic who is works out of Saffron Walden ambulance station, said:

“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 add 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.”

Men suffer from higher rates of suicide and substance abuse in the UK.

The suicide rate is highest among in middle-aged men in their 40s and the male suicide rate is 15.8 per 100,000 population, compared to a female suicide rate of 5.5 per 100,000 population.

In the UK, also men have higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse compared to women and in 2020 men accounted for around two-thirds of drug-related deaths in this country.

Dr Hein Scheffer, the Director of Strategy, Culture and Education at EEAST, who is the executive sponsor of the network, said:

“The Men's Wellbeing Network has been established to provide a supportive environment to our male colleagues across all protective categories, to ensure that they have a safe and supportive place to talk about men's wellbeing.  The focus is on health and wellbeing, cultural change and behavioural issues in support of the wellbeing of our male colleagues at EEAST.”

  • Summary:

    A new support network to help men talk openly about any challenges they face has been launched at the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST).