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Ask for help if the New Year low has hit, officers urged

Reach out if you’re struggling, Fed leads and mental health experts urge officers.

Frontline officers are being encouraged to look out for colleagues for signs of depression as the New Year gets under way.

Exhaustion, concerns over COVID-19, early shifts starting in darkness, financial worries and the accumulation of trauma have been highlighted as issues that can affect officers during the month that is often the toughest for most people following the Christmas celebrations.

Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at the mental health charity Mind, said: “Even before the pandemic, we know that police officers were far more likely than the general population to experience mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression, due to the unique pressures that come with this challenging line of work.

“Coronavirus has made the roles of our policing staff and volunteers even more demanding, as they face making more difficult decisions, dealing with ever-changing laws around restrictions, death, bereavement and concerns about becoming unwell.”  

Police Federation leaders, who have been sharing their own personal experiences on social media, urged officers to connect with colleagues and encourage them to contact welfare teams if they are concerned.

Greater Manchester Federation Chair, Lee Broadbent, had shared in a blog how the impact of trauma had affected him. He now wants colleagues, especially senior officers to be aware that some team members are battling issues in silence.

He said: "Police officers are encouraged to reach out if they are struggling. There’s a whole host of people wanting to help."

The College of Policing has also stepped up its efforts to ensure supervisors and officers looking to improve their CPD include mental health in their reading. The Police Library is focusing on wellbeing and has curated a reading list plus a newsletter for staff to access.

Senior managers also haven’t been left out. Finance teams battling resource demands among their job pressures were urged by their leader to contact the Samaritans and HR teams for support.

Rob Whiteman, the Chief Executive of CIPFA which represents force finance directors, shared on social media: “This is a hard time of year for some.”

The concern is officers and staff who are attempting to carry on as normal as a coping mechanism.

The Police Federation’s Vice Chair, Che Donald, said: “It’s vital we look after our wellbeing and that of family members. For those who are struggling, please find the courage to reach out to a colleague, Fed rep or friend – and know you are never alone.”

That message was backed by Mind, the mental health charity which partners with forces to deliver the Blue Light Together web initiative.

Launched by the Duke of Cambridge, it was developed with frontline wellbeing officers from across the country.

Emma Mamo, said managers are the crucial point for supporting people in need: “It’s never been more important that all employers – especially those who support emergency responders working on the frontline – prioritise and invest in the wellbeing of their staff.

“Promoting the mental health leads to better outcomes for employees and their customers – including the general public with whom they come into contact. In addition to the support provided by employers, Mind’s Blue Light Together website has a range of information and resources for those working or volunteering for 999 services, as well as their families and friends.”

Want to help a colleague who you think might be struggling?

Here’s some helpful resources:





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