Prince Harry visits London Ambulance Service to launch Time to Talk Day

02 February

Prince Harry is today visiting the London Ambulance Service control room and meeting with call handlers and ambulance crews, to kick off Time to Talk Day, the annual awareness day run by Time to Change.

His Royal Highness is spending time with staff at the UK’s busiest ambulance service, encouraging them to get talking about mental health and hearing about the support offered to emergency service workers.

Paramedic Susanna Trow, who is talking to His Royal Highness today, says:

The first time I needed real support from my colleagues was after a patient chased me down the street threatening to kill me. As a paramedic working in a car on my own, I had been first on scene and I still remember the fear I felt.

“People could see I was upset and encouraged me to talk about it - particularly my station officer, Peter Rhodes, who gave me the time to talk about what had happened. His support set a great example and made me realise that even just having someone you can talk to, and approach when you’ve had a bad day, can you feel so much better.”

As part of his visit, Prince Harry is joining London Ambulance Service staff at a Time to Talk Day wellbeing event, where he will find out more about the Service’s voluntary LINC network;  a peer support system set up to encourage staff to talk to each other about the issues they are facing.

Practice Learning Manager Jules Lockett, who is hosting the event, says:

“We take the mental wellbeing of our workforce very seriously. Our staff deal with trauma every day and can work in often difficult circumstances. That’s why we’re here today, to show them the support that we can offer. Alongside this, we’ll have our LINC network of trained staff who volunteer their time to offer peer support to their colleagues.

“As a Mind Blue Light Champion, I’m proud to be breaking down the stigma of mental health, and encouraging everyone to have open and honest conversations about their emotional wellbeing.”

Prince Harry is also meeting with control room staff including call handler Alex Turp, who turned to her colleagues when she found it difficult to cope:

Back in October, I was working a night shift in the control room and took a really difficult call. After the call was over, I walked away not knowing if I’d done the right thing and it really affected me. I couldn’t sleep, I kept bursting into tears and my confidence was knocked.

"Eventually, after speaking to friends, I realised I wasn’t feeling any better and managed to speak to Katie, one of the Service’s LINC workers on my team. We had just one conversation but I came away from it a different person. She gave me the time to talk. After talking to Katie, I felt like I could breathe again - she really was fantastic. It made me realise how important it is to have a support system at work and we really are a little 999 family.”

The visit comes as part of Heads Together’s campaign to change the conversation on mental health, spearheaded by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, in partnership with eight leading mental health charities and three Founding Partners.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

About London Ambulance Service

  • London Ambulance Service NHS Trust is the busiest emergency ambulance service in the UK that provides healthcare that is free to patients at the time they receive it.
  • We have over 5,000 staff, who work across a wide range of roles based in 70 ambulance stations.
  • We serve more than eight million people who live and work in the London area.
  • We take over 1.8 million emergency calls a year.
  • For more information, media enquiries or interview requests please contact the Communications Team on 020 7783 2286 or communications@londonambulance.nhs.uk
  • Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for the latest news and information. 

About Time To Change

Time to Change is a growing movement of people changing how we all think and act about mental health problems. The campaign is run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and is funded by the Department of Health, Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund. Time to Change organises Time to Talk Day, now in its fourth year, to encourage people to be more open about mental health and ready to listen.

For more information please go to http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/timetotalkday.

About Heads Together

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are spearheading the Heads Together campaign to build on the great work that is already taking place across the country, to ensure that people feel comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing, feel able to support their friends and families through difficult times, and that fear no longer prevents people talking or getting the help they need.

Heads Together brings together a team of Charity Partners that have achieved great progress in tackling stigma, raising awareness, and providing vital help for people with mental health problems. The team covers a wide range of mental health issues that are close to The Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry's passions. They are:

  • Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
  • Best Beginnings
  • CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably
  • Contact (a military mental health coalition)
  • Mind
  • Place2Be
  • The Mix
  • YoungMinds

The privilege of being the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year gives Heads Together a positive platform to raise funds for the support provided by the campaign’s charity partners and to start millions of conversations.

The Heads Together campaign is being generously supported by The Hans & Julia Rausing Trust, ShareGift and the first three Heads Together Founding Partners - Dixons Carphone, Unilever UK and Virgin Money. This support will help amplify the aims of the campaign as well as fund specific projects designed to help us all with mental health.