Mental health awareness and support in the workplace is crucial in every sector, particularly in Jobs that may inflict mental strain more than others. After reading Police insight’s recently published article on police officers and suicide, I was left equally dismayed and determined. Determined to push harder to raise awareness and promote the correct support for our fellow police officers. According to Policing insight UK and BBC news, it appears intervention at this point is essential in order to prevent police suicides.
Police officers should receive support from day one of their career working in the line of duty. Because, why shouldn’t they? These people are exposed to highly volatile situations day to day, yet they are expected to remain resilient. Due to the status police carry, we expect them to be bullet proof – call it ignorance, we are all guilty of it. We expect the extra mile from them… and given their purpose is to protect and enforce the law, this isn’t surprising. But when you strip the titles and badges away, they are people – like everybody else.
At Premier Partnership, we are partner to policing bodies across the UK and provide successful mental health support training programmes, both for internal and external support and awareness. One organisation we provided to, was a specific business unit within a large police force. In order to ensure they were able to offer the most appropriate support for their teams, they firstly required mental health awareness training for their managers.
Premier Partnership were able to provide an experienced associate to ensure this was tailored to meet the needs of the organisation, as well as keeping the outcomes required in mind:
- Understand some of the issues surrounding mental health; including stigma and discrimination
- Recognise the main signs and symptoms of mental ill health.
- Feel more confident talking to someone with a mental health issue and guiding them to appropriate support.
- Understand what is legally required of you under the Equality Act 2010.
Following on from this delivery, the unit then requested Mental Health awareness training for their staff to ensure they all knew how to identify the signs and symptoms and where to signpost their colleagues and members of the public to, if they required support.
Using a cohort of our expert Associates, we have delivered further training to police officers, to assist in understanding mental health and how to help members of the public, if they attend someone who is in crisis. As part of this roll out, there was also support offered to the officers themselves, ensuring their wellbeing was considered and where they could obtain support if required. This signposting involved Oscar Kilo, Police Care UK and other similar organisations.
“As part of this delivery there is an additional focus on officer wellbeing. It is a crucial part of our officer welfare to remind them to be kind to themselves and that they will be impacted too. We offer signposting to all the support available, both internal and external to the organisation, as well as other important courses specific to this need” -Mental health project delivery manager in a large police organisation
According to Mind UK – 91% of police officers have experienced stress and poor mental health at work. Their studies showed that it is possible to work hard independently, to prevent mental health problems affecting your performance at work, but this can come at a large personal cost, impacting relationships and physical health. These circumstances must improve. It should be accessible and straightforward for police officers to retrieve support – their vests may be bullet proof, but their minds are not.