Police Federation

World Suicide Prevention Day

What police forces can do to help improve the mental health of their workforce. 

10 September 2023


To mark World Suicide Prevention Day we spoke with Mark Andrews, National Board Health and Safety Lead, to understand better what Chief Constables must do to serve those officers that are under their care and help guarantee that when help is needed the right support structures and care is there.

As Mark points out, suicide within the police service exists at a far higher and alarming rate than in most other professions, something that demands our immediate attention.

Police officers dedicate their lives to serving and protecting their communities. The relentless pressures, exposure to trauma, and the demanding nature of their work can take a severe toll on their mental well-being.

The consequences of this not only affect officers themselves but also their families, colleagues, and the communities they serve.  PFEW feels it is our duty to ensure they have the support and resources they need to thrive and overcome the challenges they face.

Statistics reveal that police officers face a higher suicide rate than the general population. The persistent stress they experience is often all consuming. Families and friends are left to grapple with the aftermath, often in silence and isolation.

Together, we can stop police suicides and create a safer, healthier future for those who safeguard all of us.


What Leaders and Bosses Must Do


To combat this crisis, our Chief Constables and leadership must take decisive action:

  1. Recognising Changes to Risk:  Employers have a duty, so far as reasonably practicable, to keep their employees healthy and safe in the workplace.  Risk assessments are used to consider the dangers they face and put measures in place to safeguard them.  Employers must recognise when there is a change in risk and put new mitigations in action to ensure the risk is reduced.
  2. Prioritise Mental Health: Make mental health support stigma-free and accessible for officers. Encourage a culture where seeking help is a sign of strength.
  3. Training and Education: Equip officers with coping skills and comprehensive mental health training to manage stress and trauma effectively.
  4. Regular Check-Ins: Implement routine mental health check-ins to provide officers with a safe space to discuss their emotional well-being.
  5. Peer Support: Establish peer support networks within departments to create a sense of community among officers.


How We All Can Look After Police Officers


We can all make a difference by:

  1. Expressing Gratitude: Show appreciation for officers' sacrifices and dedication to their communities.
  2. Advocating for Change: Support policies prioritising officers' mental health within police forces.
  3. Raising Awareness: Share information about the challenges officers face and the importance of mental health support.
  4. Supporting Families and Friends: Recognise that police suicides affect loved ones deeply. Offer a listening ear and emotional support.

It is time to take decisive action to stop police suicides and provide the support desperately needed.  Behind every uniform, there's a person who may need your help. Let us stand together to stop police suicides and provide a healthier future for those who safeguard us all.”


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