TWO thirds of police staff have struggled with feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation during lockdown, according to Mind, the national mental health charity.
And two thirds of police staff said they were concerned about passing coronavirus on to their friends and family, while 42% said their mental health was affected by news and media coverage.
Zoë Wakefield, Hampshire Police Federation Chair, has encouraged officers to ask for help if they find they are struggling.
She said: “There is a lot of help out there. Our force have a wellbeing toolkit which has lots of sources of information and support, and the Federation are here to offer a lot of assistance. Don’t suffer in silence and don’t worry about what other people may or may not think.
“We all go through those really stressful times. Obviously it’s all been made worse by the pandemic. But policing is a long career, I don’t think anybody gets through that 30-35 year career without having those times where they need to seek some help.”
A spokesman for Mind said: “Working in the police can be highly demanding. It’s particularly important to protect your mental health and wellbeing – and to do this on a daily basis, not just after experiencing big, traumatic events.
“That was always true, even before the pandemic. But things have suddenly got tougher, and thinking about your mental health has never been more important than it is now.”
A free mental health toolkit has been set up for officers that may be struggling. To find out more, go to: https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/toolkit/bluelight-police/
April was Stress Awareness Month and the Stress Management Society has been publicising its work to help officers who have felt overwhelmed. For specialist advice on stress, go to: https://www.stress.org.uk/what-is-stress/