Police officers across the country are being encouraged to take steps to strengthen and protect their mental health, and to share acts of kindness this week as the Police Federation of England and Wales marks Mental Health Awareness Week.
Throughout the week, the Federation will be sharing advice and tips from experts on everything from Mental Health First Aid to diet and sleep: all designed to help officers and their families improve their mental health.
In a blog to mark the start of the week, the Federation’s Wellbeing Lead, Belinda Goodwin said:
“For the Police Federation, the issues of mental health and wellbeing aren’t things we only think about for one week a year, or during a crisis. Our members put their physical and emotional health at risk daily: officers deserve clear legal protection, to be given the right tools and support to help build resilience, and the best care possible in the event of injury.
“That’s why we launched our mental health and suicide prevention campaign ‘Hear Man Up, Think Man Down.’ We wanted to convey that something as simple as a phrase heard in police stations across the country - “man up” - can add to a culture that makes it harder to talk about mental health and harder for officers in need to ask for help. Like many areas of health, it’s the little changes that soon add up- and this is a change we can all make.
“And Mental Health Awareness Week this year is all about kindness. We could all be a little kinder – something as simple as making time to have a chat with a colleague or a mate and finding out how they really are...rather than telling them to ‘Man up!’”
The current crisis is challenging for everyone’s mental health in ways we haven’t experienced before. Whether you cooped up with your family, isolated or facing the threat of being coughed at on the streets, the need to look after our own, and each other’s, mental health has never been more important. Most of us go to the gym or eat healthily to improve our physical health. Few of us know what to do to improve our mental health. As part of our ‘Hear Man Up, Think Man Down’ campaign the Federation are using Mental Health Awareness Week to highlight just some of the sources of support available to members and their families, and to encourage everyone to have open conversations about mental health.