Following a service-wide package of customised Mental Health First Aid, Mental Fitness and Resilience and Leading with Mental Health in Mind training, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire & Rescue Service’s (HIOWFRS) Inclusion & Diversity Team engaged the Eleos Partnership to carry out focus groups to:

  1. Inform the Mental Health Working Group and Wellbeing Tactical Group with a varied and representative view on what the Mental Health Plan should include.
  2. How it can be best supported for maximum benefit.
  3. How it could be best delivered within operational and practical constraints.
  4. To gather feedback from the initial training sessions to inform how a wider programme of training and education could be tailored for HIOWFRS.



The focus groups were supplemented by surveys to gather quantitative data and reflective feedback and consisted of a representative number of people drawn from a mix of management levels, gender and age across both Green and Grey Book staff.

Specific sessions that focused on Line Managers and the Mental Health Working Group were also run.



The aim of the focus groups and report was to ensure the Mental Health Working Group can proceed with future initiatives in the knowledge that representative views have been considered.

This will enable greater levels of engagement, participation and effectiveness.



There had already been some excellent work planned and delivered—from the service’s Mental Health Plan—in raising awareness around mental health by the Diversity & Inclusion Team, supported and guided by the Mental Health Working Group.

The Executive Leadership Team was fully engaged and understood the need to promote the importance of mental health awareness at all levels and to create a top down, bottom-up approach.

Our recommendations were designed to reinforce the existing Mental Health Plan through straightforward, scalable and widespread additional training and education – linked to existing development processes, i.e., the Leadership and Management Framework.

The recommendations shaped a long-term, three-year strategic approach to:

  1. Improve organisational health and performance.
  2. Strengthen individual resilience at all levels.
  3. Improve cost-effectiveness and efficiencies.

Recommendations included empowering Leaders and Managers to Lead with Mental Health in Mind, by providing them with the reassurance, competence, and confidence to consistently contribute to the wellbeing of the organisation and their team.

Providing employees, inclusive of their Grey, Green, or RDS status, with access to bite-sized, on demand team and individual training that easily fits into the flow of work and the service’s watch structure.

Training areas included:

  • Mental Health Awareness
  • Mental Fitness and Resilience
  • Communications
  • Team Dynamics

The recommendations provided HIOWFRS with the ability to take a long-term strategic approach to measuring, understanding, improving and evolving organisational health and performance.

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