20 December 2021
Mental health is a topic close to many of our hearts. We are very proud to be supporting the Daily Express and Mind’s Christmas mental health campaign, ‘By Your Side.’ The campaign aims to raise a significant sum of money, so that Britain’s leading mental health charity can continue to provide a network of life-saving support.
The campaign is designed to remind people that they are not alone and that mental health issues are indiscriminate – it doesn’t matter who you are, what age you are, what job you do, it can take it’s toll - and to generate a wider discussion around support available to anyone who may need it.
Throughout the Christmas period, several police officers from across the country will be joining many others in bravely sharing their experiences of mental health struggles, in the hope that it will raise awareness and raise money for Mind. You will be able to read these courageous stories on the Daily Express website and on our PFEW social media channels
As police officers we deal with trauma, danger and grief day in, day out. We see the very worst of humanity - but are expected to leave it behind at the end of a shift, then return to ‘normal’ life. The added pressures of policing the pandemic have had a major effect on officers, with more than three quarters admitting to having experienced mental health or wellbeing difficulties in the past year alone.
There is still a stigma attached to mental illness in policing - but we must change this and PFEW are committed to doing all we can to help this change become a reality. Nobody should feel like they have to hide away when there’s an issue, or bottle things up until they are broken. It’s important for officers to feel comfortable about speaking out about the difficulties they are facing with mental health and wellbeing.
Policing is unique - helping people and saving lives is rewarding and makes a difference but it’s often tough beyond measure. The number of police officers experiencing mental health and wellbeing issues is growing, with our latest Demand, Capacity and Welfare Survey showing that 69% of the 12,471 respondents have experienced difficulties with their mental health and wellbeing over the last twelve months. The most frequently reported reason for experiencing work-related mental health and wellbeing was a heavy workload, followed by having a poor work/life balance. 20% noted the reason for the struggles was due to the general impact of working on the frontline during the pandemic.
It may be easy to forget that behind the uniform, these people are mums and dads, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. They are people who are facing the same issues as those within the communities that they police.
Last year 20 million people – roughly one-third of the UK population – approached Mind for support, the highest level since it was founded in 1946. Each month, its Infoline receives 8,000 calls, equal to 258 each day or 11 every hour.
Mind’s ‘Blue Light Programme’ has recently provided a tailor-made toolkit for police officers and other emergency service workers, to support them with their mental health during the pandemic.
We are proud to support this very important campaign. For more information on the campaign, personal stories and how to donate, please visit the Express website.