16 November 2020
Derbyshire Police Federation wellbeing lead Sergeant Bryan has spoken openly about his own mental health in a moving account of the challenges he has faced during this year.
In a blog published to coincide with Alcohol Awareness Week which runs from today until Sunday, Adam also comes to the conclusion that he has also learnt some valuable lessons, which could apply in people’s personal lives but also in policing.
He explains: “I have learnt that communication and kindness are key to effective wellbeing. I believe that many anxieties can be addressed earlier by effective, honest communication between staff and their managers. This will prevent fairly minor situations snowballing out of control. It will improve relationships and it will prevent individuals suffering. When absence statistics for the organisation indicate that over 50 per cent of absence is mental health related then that tells me things need to change.”
And he adds: “If this year has taught me anything it is that we are all in this together, we stayed apart but came together. Covid has been incredibly challenging for us all; an overnight change from freedoms to feeling like prisoners in our own homes. Local amenities shut and loved ones lost by many.
“I suppose the privilege of policing is that we will not lose our income like so many others have. Unbeknownst to me, I have helped many people cope over the lockdown. I run a totally unrelated guitar forum and I was really humbled to start receiving emails from members saying how my positivity had helped them from the brink. In turn, I could explain to them how it went both ways.
“This enabled me to learn that kindness is the forgotten virtue in life. It costs nothing yet is so easily overlooked. Kindness is a positive feeling which encourages both individuals to achieve better wellbeing. Kindness simply needs to be tied into police management. Organisational change happens, but there is no excuse for treating others negatively during it. Engage people in that change, be kind to those who may feel negatively affected and the outcome is much more likely to be favourable to all.
“Treat people badly, ignore them and be dishonest then the likelihood is they will feel devalued, become unwell and end up as one of those 50 per cent statistics I spoke of earlier.”
He calls on Chief Constable Rachel Swann and her new executive team to make officer and staff wellbeing a key priority.
Adam says: “My challenge to them is to put ‘our people’ as our Number 1 Force priority. Let’s invest in our most important asset and put proactive measures in place to look after our people.”