21 May 2021
Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton is encouraging members to look out for each other as new figures reveal the toll the pandemic has taken on the mental health of key workers.
More than three quarters of key workers (76 per cent) say their mental health has been negatively impacted by the Covid crisis, according to statistics from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
Tony said: “Three out of every four key workers, including our members, say their mental health has suffered during the pandemic, which is a huge figure.
“But given what we’ve experienced over the last 14 months with policing the pandemic and enforcing the lockdowns while dealing with personal issues away from work, it’s not really surprising.”
The most common reason for the pandemic having a negative impact on the mental health of key workers was being separated from or unable to see friends, family or romantic partners (60 per cent).
More than half (52 per cent) said the reason was increased stress or difficulties at work due to the pandemic. This is significantly higher than those who are in work but who are not key workers (35 per cent).
Other common reasons for key workers saying the pandemic had negatively impacted their mental health were anxiety or concern about friends or family members catching coronavirus (55 per cent); feeling isolated (45 per cent) and anxiety or concern about catching coronavirus themselves (38 per cent).
And 60 per cent of key workers agreed their job has become more stressful because of the pandemic, compared to 37 per cent of non-key workers across the UK.
The figures were released by the BACP to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week which ran from 10 to 16 May.
Other figures from the BACP survey, which was conducted by YouGov, show:
Tony said: “Please take time to look after your own mental health and to look out for each other. Talking to friends and colleagues can be a good source of support through a stressful period which is why it’s a key focus of the Federation’s Hear ‘Man Up’, Think ‘Man Down’ campaign, which aims to get officers talking to one another.
“Often we know our colleagues as well as anyone and can tell when they’re not coping, and then we can help them to get support if they need it.
“And the Federation is always here for its members,” Tony added.
Kris Ambler, BACP’s workforce lead, said: “Millions of key workers have been dealing with some incredibly stressful and unusual circumstances.
“They may also have other things happening in their life such as a bereavement or relationship problems.
“Talking to a counsellor can help to identify and address problems early, alleviate the psychological impact of negative situations and keep our key workers working effectively and productively,” he added.
The Federation's Welfare Support Programme provides independent and confidential support to members and access to fully trained and accredited professionals.