Ten men facing the camera smiling in the park, in front of the country house

Who We Are

We are a group of individuals from The London Fire Brigade with a diverse range of experiences
and qualifications in Mental Health. We share a common passion and goal to help improve
the Mental Health of those within the Services. We initially targeted those who identify as
male as we were alarmed by the fact that 75% of people who died by suicide were men.

We also became increasingly aware of the barriers to help-seeking that the male population
still faced, which sadly still included the stigma attached to needing help being seen as weak.
Males often grow up and live surrounded by the belief that they should hide their emotions
and that talking is a weakness. This is quite often exacerbated within service roles where
identity is somewhat shaped by working within the role of the ‘rescuer’. We wanted to
change this and encourage men to reach out and gain acceptance that “it’s ok to not be ok”.
This is how Walk & Talk 999 was born.

The walks are run by men, for men and solely for those who work within the blue light, NHS, and Military Services. 

This is so like-minded people who can relate to each other, are able to
attend the walks and be supported in a safe and non-judgemental environment. The walks
are held weekly for an hour and there is no pressure for anyone to open up about what they
are going through, they can attend and listen to others, walk in silence or talk about the
weather. 

There is also no pressure to attend every week, but the walk leaders will be there
come rain, hail or snow. They all have a lived experience of their own personal mental
health struggles and all receive training in how best to support those in attendance. They
are able to offer support during or after the walk and can sign post into other services as
necessary.


Currently 14 walks across the UK, click here to see the locations.

We experience positive feedback, interest and support. We are expanding
rapidly and constantly looking for volunteers to join our team and start new Walks across the UK and beyond.   

Whilst we target those who identify as male, we also encourage walking groups for women only or mixed groups.

If  you are interested in starting a walk, or further information. Click here to Contact us 

Our Team

Our committee comprises of a number of personnel from a range of diverse occupations within the fire service.

Becci Dingvean

Co-founder and Vice Chair

Becci is an Assistant Operations Manager in the London Fire Brigades Control Room. She has been in service since 2016. During this time she has helped to set up their mental health support group, become a mental health first aider, domestic violence support officer. She has also volunteered at the Maytree as a befriender. 

Dean Corney

Co-founder and Chair

Dean has been a Firefighter in the London Fire Brigade since 2003, he is a mental health first aider and has qualifications in; awareness of mental health problems, understanding children's and young peoples mental health, safeguarding and self-harm and suicide awareness and prevention.

Annabel Green

Co-founder and Organiser 

Annabel is a Station Officer in the London Fire Brigade and also joined in 2003. She has a degree in psychology and a diploma in equalities. She is a Rep for the Fire Brigade's Union, mental health first aider and has education in mental health awareness, counselling  and leadership skills.

Sally Brookes

Co-Founder and Secretary 

Sally Brookes is a Station Commander and joined London Fire Brigade in 1996. Sally is a qualified Counsellor, with education in mental health awareness across several areas of equality diversity and Inclusion. These include, young people and the LGBTQ+ community. She has also gained several certificates in safeguarding self harm & suicide awareness prevention.

As well as being a mental health first aider and domestic violence support officer, Sally is the secretary of the Women’s Advisory Committee within the Fire Brigade’s Union Region 10. Sally has experience of supporting young neurodiverse people with their mental health issues.

Mark Smith

Co -Founder and Treasurer

Mark is a Sub Officer at Purley Fire Station on the Green Watch, and has recently completed 30 years service. He became involved after meeting and chatting about mental health with Dean on a BA course and the rest is history! He is proud to be part of the 1st walk and to be around a group of his peers who are also passionate about helping people with their mental health.

Shelley Robinson

Co-Founder and Communications Officer

Shelley has been a Firefighter in the London Fire Brigade since 2010 and the Brigades Wellbeing Dog Handler since 2022. She has a degree in psychology and has started a post graduate certificate in trauma psychology. She is also a mental health first aider. She is trained in peer support and has a certificate in exercise and mental health which she uses to host mental health swims.

Three of us each have an arm of social media we look after.

Dean looks after Facebook

Becci looks after X (formally Twitter)

Rhianne looks after Instagram!

 

Below Rhianne shares how she got involved.

 

My names Rhianne and I am Marks daughter. 

My dad initially came to me at the start, asking ‘how to use Instagram’ All this time later and I am having the best time running the Walk & Talk Instagram page. Seeing how much it has grown from the start, I am so honoured to be able to help anyone in the smallest way possible! I really feel like I am part of something special & being able to spread the word for men’s mental health is so very important!

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