The chair of Cambridgeshire Police Federation has said she is concerned about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on officers’ mental health but that she is more worried that they will not seek help.
Liz Groom was speaking out to promote the Mind Blue Light Programme which has developed specialist support and advice resources in response to the predicted increase in emergency worker mental health issues.
“I fear the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our officers’ mental health will be devastating – not only to the officers themselves and their families, but also to the service,” Liz said,
“The mental and emotional impact of this pandemic cannot be underestimated and officers need to know they can seek help that is easily accessible. They must not suffer in silence.”
The Blue Light Programme was set up by Mind in 2015 to offer unique round-the-clock advice and support for frontline workers and emergency responders. It campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
Mind has also worked in partnership with Shout, the Samaritans, Hospice UK and The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to develop easily accessible Frontline webpages and an Infoline offering a range of tailored mental health information, tips and tools.
Mind conducted a Blue Light survey earlier this year and will publish the results in April when the first coronavirus-specific support resource will be launched. It also promoted the idea that simply talking with someone about how you feel can help on this month’s Time to Talk Day, with its theme of “The Power of Small.”
Liz added: “Our members, along with other emergency workers, have been on the frontline of the nation’s response to Covid-19 and continued to provide a service in extremely difficult circumstances which none of us could have foreseen.
“Police officers can suffer poor mental health just like anyone else. In fact, emergency workers are more at risk of experiencing a mental health problem than the rest of the population yet they are less likely to seek support. It has been a tough year and they need to know there is support available and there’s no shame in asking for help.”