Firefighters in Hereford and Worcester were called to a record number of suicide attempts last year, figures show.

Mental health charity Mind said the effects of dealing with such traumatic situations could be “severe and long-lasting” for crews.

The Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service responded to 50 suicides or attempted suicides in the 12 months to September last year, Home Office statistics reveal.

​It is the highest number for any year to September since records began in 2011, and five more than the year before.

Across England, fire and rescue services responded to a record 1,969 suicides – the sixth successive yearly increase nationwide.

They make up part of a growing number of "collaborating incidents" that fire stations have to respond to alongside other emergency services, since the Policing and Crime Act became law in 2017.

In the 12-month period to September 2016, Hereford and Worcester firefighters responded to 30 suicide callouts.

Vicki Nash, head of policy and campaigns at Mind, said they want to see all emergency services create a culture where staff can talk openly about stress and mental health without “stigma and discrimination”.

She added: “Although those working within fire and rescue services are trained to attend these kinds of events, the effects of witnessing trauma can, in some cases, be severe and long-lasting. So it’s crucial staff are able to access support for their mental health from their employer.”

​The most recent figures show crews dealt with a total of 605 “collaborating incidents” in Hereford and Worcester in the year to September 2019 – almost three times the equivalent period in 2016.

Almost all fire services across England have seen an increase in situations where they must work alongside the police and ambulance services, which coincided with the imposed statutory duty on all ‘blue light’ services to work together.

Nationwide, fire crews recorded 43,796 of those incidents last year – a 47% rise since the Policing and Crime Act.

A spokeswoman for the National Fire Chiefs Council said the duty to collaborate means emergency services can decide the best way to work together for the benefit of their own communities.

She said: "These statistics show the broad range of incidents firefighters attend on a daily basis and the vital work they undertake. It is vital that the right support mechanisms are readily available and accessible as required.”

A Home Office spokesman said they are grateful for the continued tireless efforts of firefighters across the country.