Glasgow firefighter helps mental health charity scoop national award

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Sapper Support offers 24/7 support.

A mental health charity supported by a Glasgow firefighter has scooped a national award.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Watch Commander Gary McGregor is based at the city's Maryhill Fire Station and volunteers his time with helpline Sapper Support.

The brainchild of a close friend of Gary's, Sapper Support provides a 24/7 support line to emergency service workers and Armed Forces staff who experience mental health challenges.

Sapper volunteers undergo training from mental health charity MIND and can provide guidance and signposting to callers.

The charity also offers funding towards private psychiatric assessments.

Recently, Gary and his fellow volunteers received national recognition after triumphing in the Healthcare and Rehabilitation category of this years' Soldiering On Awards.

Gary believes the award is testament to the hard work of all involved with the charity and urged others to seek help should they experience mental ill health.

He said: "The award is something which speaks volumes for the work we have done.

"It tells us that we are doing the right thing and that's enough for us - that's all we want.

"We now want to continue to get the message out there that help is always available to anyone experiencing mental health challenges."

The SFRS has recently launched its own national Mental Health Strategy to ensure staff are provided with the tools and knowledge to better look after their own mental health and to help spot potential signs in others that they may be struggling.

The strategy was drafted by Deputy Assistant Chief Officer John Miller who recently spoke with Prince William about the efforts of emergency service staff to champion mental health.

A passionate advocate for mental health, Gary is himself now appealing to emergency service workers across Scotland to seek support and not to suffer in silence.

He said: “Mental health support should not be a box ticking exercise and people calling for help need to be listened to as each call is different.

"We want people to know that support is here and that we can get this sorted together."

For more on Sapper Support visit https://sappersupport.com/

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