10 May 2022
Derbyshire Police Federation wellbeing lead Helen Gallear is encouraging members to look out for each other’s mental health.
Helen’s comments come in Mental Health Awareness Week, which she said is a chance to focus on protecting and strengthening our mental wellbeing.
And she said it was also a chance to highlight the Federation’s “Hear Man Up, Think Man Down” campaign, which aims to get officers talking to each other.
Helen explained: “We have a unique role and are often exposed to some difficult moments, but talking to our colleagues, who know what the job is about, can be a real support.
“We’ve had a difficult two years with the pandemic, and the cost of living crisis is heaping further strain on people.
“Often we know our colleagues as well as anyone. We can see if they’re not coping and offer support if they need it.”
New figures from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) highlight the pressures the cost of living crisis is putting on key workers, including police officers.
BACP’s Public Perceptions Survey found that almost half of key workers (48 per cent) are anxious or nervous about whether they can pay their bills. Nationally the figure is 40 per cent.
One in four (24 per cent) key workers are having to cut back on activities which help their mental health, such as gym membership, which is five per cent higher than the national average. And almost one in five (19 per cent) are losing sleep over the rising cost of living against 16 per cent nationally.
The pandemic has also taken its toll on key workers, according to the BACP, with 74 per cent saying it’s impacted their mental health to some extent. The figure for the rest of the population is 70 per cent.
Helen said: “Following on from our pay and morale survey, these figures are further evidence that many police officers are worried about the state of their finances as food, fuel and energy prices continue to rise.
“Decision-makers talk about improving mental health but they can take a massive step towards helping officers by giving them a decent pay rise.”
Helen reminded members the Federation was there to support members struggling with their mental health.
“Every officer can reach out and get support, no matter when they need it,” she added.