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Wiltshire Police Federation

Praise floods in for Welfare Support Programme

19 October 2022

Polfed News

Hundreds of members have been provided with life-changing mental health support from specialists funded by the Police Federation.

Our Welfare Support Programme (WSP) is continuing to offer a wide range of confidential and independent services from clinical assessments to counselling with fully trained and accredited professionals.

At least 500 members are being given timely, ongoing support from Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) who has provided provisions of the WSP since December 2020.

DMWS is an independent charity providing medical welfare to the armed forces, veterans, NHS staff and emergency services.

We have since received an overwhelming number of positive testimonies from police officers whose lives have been made better through the scheme:

“I can honestly say that both xxx and xxx have stopped me feeling suicidal on numerous occasions, just by being there and letting me know they care and want to help. They have both made it easy for me to open up and tell them exactly how I was feeling, even if I was in a really dark place.”

“That kind of support is priceless, and I count myself as being very lucky to have been provided with such help and support from such an amazing charity. I want it to be known what a difference it has made to me - especially when I have felt unsupported by others.”

The WSP is designed to complement the services already available, however, sometimes there are reasons officers do not want to approach their forces, whether that be down to trust issues, or having to wait several months until they are referred.

In one case an officer was diagnosed with PTSD while under investigation by his own force and the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

With little support from the organisation, he lost all faith but was thankfully able to open up to a DMWS welfare officer and speak freely and confidentially about his anxieties and depression.

After a lengthy investigation his case was closed with no case to answer, and he was supported by the WSP throughout.

Wellbeing Leads Belinda Goodwin and Sue Honeywill said: “We are delighted to continue working with Defence Medical Welfare Service to deliver our Welfare Support Programme and PFEW has agreed to allocate funding for the next 12 months as of December.

"Our local Federation branches already do everything they can to give members a helping hand in their time of need, but thanks to DMWS we can go one step further and provide this extra and invaluable support service.

“We are so pleased to see it making a tangible difference to the lives of our colleagues who, when in a dark place, often don’t feel comfortable reaching out to their force, but look to the Federation for support.”

The following support is provided by WSP:
• Practical and mental support
• Clinical assessments and dedicated counselling
• Person-centred support (via telephone or face-to-face)
• Access to fully trained and accredited professionals
• Independent and confidential support
• Referrals to appropriate follow-on specialist support

If you are a subscribing PFEW member and would like more information, please contact your local Federation branch.