90 days from today is Sat, 24 December 2022
1 March 2021
“I fear the long-term mental health implications of the coronavirus pandemic could be devastating.”
These were the words of the Al Wollaston, secretary of Hertfordshire Police Federation, who was speaking after the Mind Blue Light Programme announced the development of unique, dedicated support and advice resources in response to the predicted increase in emergency worker Covid-related mental health issues.
Al explained: “I’m deeply concerned that the effects of the pandemic could be a ticking time bomb in terms of police officers’ mental health.
“Our members have been on the frontline of the country’s response to something we’ve never seen before. They have continued to provide a service in difficult circumstances but remain under enormous pressure.
“We know that emergency workers are more likely to experience a mental health issue than the rest of the population. But we also know they are less likely to seek help. That has to change and I urge anyone who is struggling to get support – early intervention can have a massive impact in terms of recovery.”
The Blue Light Programme was set up by Mind in 2015 to offer unique round-the-clock advice and support for frontline workers and emergency responders. It campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
Mind has also worked in partnership with Shout, the Samaritans, Hospice UK and The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to develop easily accessible Frontline webpages and an Infoline offering a range of tailored mental health information, tips and tools to support emergency workers with issues relating to the pandemic.
A Blue Light survey was conducted earlier this year and the results will be published in April when the first coronavirus-specific support resource will be launched. It also promoted the idea that simply talking with someone about how you feel can help on this month’s Time to Talk Day, with its theme of “The Power of Small”.
Al added: “The impact of poor mental health can be devastating and police officers are not immune. You must not suffer in silence. There is help available at the click of button or at the end of the phone – it’s that easy. There is no shame in asking for help. Make that call, speak to a rep, get the help you need and deserve.
“Officers have taken care of so many people over the last year but they must also remember to take care of themselves too.”
Please use the links provided to access support or contact your Federation representative in confidence.