6 February 2020
Look out for yourself and your colleagues when it comes to mental health
Leicestershire Police Federation is encouraging members to look out for each other when it comes to mental health.
The call comes as a newly launched PFEW campaign aims to ensure mental health in policing is treated as seriously as physical health and safety.
The national Federation wants to enable officers to see the signs of poor mental health in themselves and their colleagues.
Leicestershire Police Federation Wellbeing Lead Joe Lloyd said it’s vital all officers feel empowered to come forward and share their concerns.
“Any member of our organisation who’s feeling low or down needs to feel able to speak to someone,” he said.
“It’s about working as a part of a team and recognising when a member of that team might be presenting themselves in a different way than they usually would, or indicating that things are not 100% right with them.
“It’s about working out how best to approach that person and find out if they might need to talk.”
A more distant, ‘siloed’ approach to policing where officers may not know other members of their teams, plus the pressures piled on officers from their jobs and family lives, all have an impact, Joe said.
“Officers might not know the people they are working with as well as they used to, although we are getting back to a ‘one team’ ethos in Leicestershire.
“We’re trying hard as a Federation to get that ethos back, which will help teams identify colleagues who may need some help.”
Officers need to look after themselves too.
“There is some personal responsibility when it comes to mental health,” Joe said.
“If something is going on, if you’re struggling, then it’s important to say ‘I’m not 100% right,’ and seek some help.”
Federation membership provides officers with counselling services through the force, while mental health first aiders are on hand to help those who need it.
Joe wants to see officers come forward and talk about any issues they have, while keeping an eye on their colleagues too.
“A problem shared isn’t necessarily solved, but it’s certainly halved,” he said.
“There is support around incidents and misconduct, where Reps can help, and supervisors have an important role to play in spotting issues with others. I’m accessible too. There are people who can help and signpost.
“Officers can feel confident they will be listened to, especially if it’s something we, as a Federation, can help with.
“Personal resilience is a big thing – we need to have the things in place to help our officers bounce back.
“That could be as simple as having a chat with like-minded colleagues, and it’s important we keep our humour.
“Officers old and new are realising they can’t compartmentalise how they feel, otherwise it just gets bottled up.”