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Hampshire Police Federation

Stress Awareness Month: Help is out there for officers who are struggling

8 April 2021

During their careers, each police officer is likely to encounter between 400 to 600 traumatic events. Most citizens will experience between three or four in their lifetime.

April is #StressAwarenessMonth and Hampshire Police Federation has outlined how help is out there for officers who are struggling.

Nationally, nearly 10,000 police officers took time off due to stress, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder in the past year.

PFEW’s January 2021 Demand, Capacity and Welfare Survey revealed that almost 80% of officers said they have struggled with their mental health and wellbeing over the past 12 months.

Zoe Wakefield, Chair of Hampshire Police Federation, said: “The past 12 months have been really difficult for officers. I think there are several reasons for this: continuing to work throughout the pandemic, being exposed to the risk of catching the virus multiple times a day, increase in assaults, particularly being spat at, juggling shift working/home schooling/lack of childcare options, not being offered the vaccine by Government, constant negativity towards the police in the media, learning new COVID legislation only for it to change again, financial worries, lack of officers, tutoring 2 student officers at the same time, the list goes on.

“Hopefully some of this additional stress will/has reduced with some of the restrictions easing and children returning to school. The Force are currently offering PPE for the Mind courses which are aimed at improving officer’s personal resilience.

“We can continue to challenge negative stories in the media. Lots of work is going on to reduce officer assaults and ensure those who do receive an appropriate sentence. Lots of information has gone out about financial support and where to get help. For stress, support has been limited due to COVID but things such as Float sessions will be available again soon.”

More about Hampshire Police Federation’s wellbeing offering for colleagues can be seen here https://www.polfed.org/hants/your-wellbeing/

Officers in need of support can also see more about the Mind Blue Light Programme here https://www.mind.org.uk/news-campaigns/campaigns/blue-light-programme/

The Stress Management Society have also created a free Individual Stress Test https://www.stress.org.uk/individual-stress-test/ where individuals can receive a stress score and some personalised recommendations for managing this.