999run: The new campaign to support mental health of 999 workers

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The Blue Light Symphony Orchestra, the UK's only orchestra for all emergency services personnel, is calling on the public to use their daily lockdown exercise time to show their support for the emergency services by completing the 999Run.

According to the charity, which uses music and music therapy to help improve the mental wellbeing of police, fire and ambulance staff, COVID-19 has seen an exacerbation of the already critical state of mental health among blue light workers. 

By completing the 999Run and raising money, the public can support the charity to address the issues around trauma, PTSD, chronic stress, and anxiety among 999 emergency service staff.

Between 18-26th July 2020 participants of all fitness levels should run, walk, or even skip one of three 999 themed distances – 9.99 km, 999 m or 999 steps. 

The charity run is organised by Sebastian Valentine, a detective constable in the Surrey Police Safeguarding Investigation Unit based in Guildford.

Sebastian said: “Taking part in 999Run is a great way for everyone to show their support for the emergency services as well as raise money in a fun way and if you cannot participate, you can still donate. Exercise is a great way to boost your own mental health and is even better with some music!

“Our emergency services are working tirelessly to keep us safe, protected and healthy every day, but more so now during this coronavirus pandemic. It is only right that we give back and help them regain some sort of normality and happiness in these difficult times.” 

Research shows that music can significantly improve psychological health and wellbeing as it engages the neurochemical systems responsible for reward, motivation, pleasure, and stress. However, music therapy is not currently open to all emergency workers, the charity wants to raise funds to make the treatment more widely available.

Our Blue Light Symphony Orchestra here at the Trust is Jessica Watts, Head of Improvement Programmes.

Jessica said: “I am delighted, as EEAST’s ambassador for the Blue Light Orchestra to support this fantastic campaign – the 999Run to raise money to make music therapy more widely available to emergency services workers.

“Research shows that music can significantly improve psychological health and wellbeing and as a runner and music lover myself I know the enormous benefits playing and listening to music and exercise can bring to our mental well-being, particularly during times of increased stress and anxiety as many of us are experiencing right now.

“Everyone can take part either by running, skipping or walking 9.99km, 999m or 999 steps or showing support for our EEAST colleagues who do.

“Please take part and encourage your families, friends and colleagues to do so too!”

For more information on the charity run go to www.999run.co.uk

Donations or to raise sponsorship money can be done via the GoFundMe page.

Published 4th June 2020

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