2 March 2021
Dyfed Powys Police Federation’s wellbeing lead has said he is concerned about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on officers’ mental health but admits he is equally concerned that they may not seek help if they are struggling.
Dai Gaskins wants to promote the Blue Light Programme, provided by mental health charity Mind to offer specialist support and advice resources in response to the predicted increase in emergency worker mental health issues.
“The impact of this pandemic should never be underestimated. I have grave concerns about the effect it is already having on our officers’ mental wellbeing and I believe that will be felt for some time. The long-term effects could be devastating – not only to the officers themselves and their families, but also to the service,” he says.
“So it’s imperative that officers know there is help available and that they can easily access it. No one should suffer in silence and we also need to look out for others. If you feel someone is struggling, or is not themselves, reach out to them – having someone to talk to can prove to be of great benefit.”
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.
A Mind Blue Light survey was conducted earlier this year and the results will be published 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.”
Dai adds: “Police officers and staff, along with other emergency workers, have been on the frontline of the nation’s response to the pandemic. They have continued to provide effective services in extremely difficult circumstances, the like of which we have never seen before.
“Police officers are not immune from the mental pressures that can affect people generally, just like everyone else there are times when they need some extra support. In fact, they are more at risk of experiencing a mental health problem than the rest of the population yet research has shown they are less likely to seek support. It has been a tough year and they need to know there is support available. There is absolutely no shame in speaking up and saying you need some help.”
The Federation can help officers access mental health support, please contact your Federation representative or the officials in the office if you need help. Your enquiry will be treated confidentially.