11 May 2021
Officers suffering from the long-term effects of Covid-19 need ‘gentle support’ from the organisation to help ease them back into the workplace.
On day three of Mental Health Awareness Week, our Wellbeing Chair Hayley Aley discussed in a video with Oscar Kilo Lead and former Chief Constable Andy Rhodes what needs to be done to support officers with long Covid.
While the Federation acknowledges some officers are still too unwell to return to the workplace, others are beginning to work part-time.
It is vital forces can support officers mentally as new research from Oxford University showed brain disorders impact on 1 in 3 Covid survivors, with the majority suffering from anxiety and mood disorders.
Hayley commented: “The Federation has constantly supported officers in working through any process, whether that be coming back to the workplace in their original role or coming back after a period of sickness and absence into an adjusted role.”
Hayley added organisational anxiety is ‘often overlooked,’ with officers feeling ‘out of the loop’ and less confident because they feel they cannot do their role as effectively as before.
“Any colleague that suffers a period away from the workplace for a long time can feel like a different person and needs gentle support to get them back into the workplace. Many officers returning can also have some element of anxiety or mental disorder which can be debilitating,” she added.
“It’s a real difficult step. Support for officers returning to the workplace when they are ready is one thing the Federation is constantly trying to improve by working with management, but we’re not there yet.”
Andy explained Oscar Kilo is working with Public Health England and the NHS to explore ways of diagnosing long Covid, while assisting forces in improving processes and making adjustments for officers returning to work.
He added: “These will be fantastic people who are desperately sad because they can’t do their full job because of long Covid. We should be able to accommodate them within policing and retain that commitment and skill to make sure that whatever adjustments are needed we can accommodate them.”
If you want to talk to someone right away about your mental health, here is a list of organisations you can call for immediate help.
Our Welfare Support Programme is also here to assist you and provides independent and confidential support to members with access to fully trained and accredited professionals.