At West Midlands Fire Service, Life Echo was used in conjunction with Kings Norton White Watch. The goal of this project was to address and embed wellbeing through a toolbox, or workshop approach. The focus was keeping fire fighters mentally and physically fitter for longer.
WMFS Noted the following benefits of the project:
- Improved crew team building, connections and motivation
- Improvement in mental wellbeing of employees
- Potential reduction in sickness absence, accidents and injuries.
- Employees enabled to recall happy memories at any point by listening to the soundtrack of their Life Echo
The Daily Telegraph reported recently that the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London and the Grenfell Tower disaster has exposed police and firefighters to unprecedented levels of persistent trauma.
But some of those working in the emergency services have admitted they are reluctant to seek help afterwards because they fear it will count against them.
A charity PTSD999 has had 80 police officers and firefighters seeking help for post-traumatic stress every day and its research suggested almost a fifth of all serving police officers could be suffering from mental trauma caused by events they had experienced at work.
In 2016 sound artist Justin Wiggan spent 6 months At West Midlands Fire Service where Life Echo was used with Kings Norton White Watch to embed wellbeing through a toolbox approach: keeping fire fighters mentally and physically fitter for longer whilst seeing how sound can have a positive impact on anti anxiety and work place resilience. Justin is now in the process of creating a wellbeing and workplace resilience app for the blue light services, where there is a definite identified need for support in mental and emotional help.
“Life Echo is an incredibly powerful example into how an artist can create work which sensitively and collaboratively support the well-being of fire fighters and others facing trauma as part of the day to day work. This is a fascinating insight as to how sound and memory can be combined creatively to help with creative safe internal and external spaces such as with White Watch.”
Creative consultant to the project.