Mental health tips for officers


PUBLISHED 17 Apr 2020

IN News

A new video has been released by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) to provide officers with practical advice to care for their mental health while dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.

The Federation has joined forces with Dr Jess Miller, the director of research at Police Care UK, the charity for serving and retired police officers, staff and volunteers and their families.

In the 20-minute video, she is joined by PFEW vice-chair Ché Donald and the two discuss the unprecedented challenges faced by officers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Dr Miller, who is a neuropsychologist, provides expert advice for front-line officers about how they can support their wellbeing as they face up to very difficult situations and feelings they are encountering.

 Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom said the video was very informative and urged officers to try to find the time to watch it.

“As a Federation, we want to let our members know that they are not alone. We are here for them and we will continue to give them as much help, advice and information as we can to protect their wellbeing during difficult times,” says Liz.

“Officers have a job to protect and inform the public but they also want to protect themselves and their families. As they try to do that, they are up against a silent and invisible killer which is obviously causing anxiety.

“That is added to by the amount of death-related incidents they may be called out to during the current crisis. These are not incidents that are easily forgotten and repeated exposure to these cases can lead to long-term effects on officers’ mental health.

“In this climate, the new PFEW video is powerful because Dr Miller gives out very practical tips to help those who may find it hard to switch off from the incidents they may be encountering on a daily basis.”

Ché said it was important to acknowledge officers were policing during a crisis on a scale they had never experienced before.

He explained: “Police officers operate in a pressure cooker environment and are exposed to all sorts of trauma from helping victims of domestic violence to road traffic collisions – the list is endless. That’s standard policing. But we are now in unprecedented times.

“We also watch the news every night and see the death toll which naturally brings on anxiety about the safety of their families. The thought of bringing the virus home to loved ones at the end of a shift is terrifying. These fears and anxieties are echoed by the public.”

Ché concluded: “It is crucial to remember you are not in this alone and these experiences and feelings are felt by all even though some may be better at hiding this.

“The Federation will continue to support members through this incredibly difficult period, making sure their voices are heard and ensuring they receive the right protection to keep themselves and the public safe.”

recent study headed by Dr Miller revealed more than one in five police officers are currently suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Watch the video.