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Members of the emergency services are at higher risk of experiencing mental health

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Emergency service workers are at a higher risk of experiencing a mental health problem. They are the least likely to seek support.

The Charity Mind conducted a survey which revealed that 9 in 10 (87 per cent) of emergency service staff and volunteers have suffered stress, low mood or poor mental health at some point.

Northumbria Police Assistant Chief Constable Darren Best is the force’s ambassador for the Blue Light Programme – delivered by Mind to provide mental health support for emergency services staff and volunteers from police, search and rescue, fire and ambulance services across England.

ACC Best said: “We have made a huge investment in wellbeing and it is very much a priority for us. Our staff deal with difficult and challenging situations on a daily basis and it is only natural this will have an affect on wellbeing. We want to make sure our workforce is supported and have the best possible support at their fingertips.

“Sadly some stigma surrounding mental health still exists. The nature of our job means a lot of our staff may need some form of support during their career. That is nothing to be ashamed of and we should not be afraid of talking about it.

“We work closely with the Blue Light Programme ensuring our staff have specialist support, we have Blue Light Champions across the organisation who are there to talk providing staff with the opportunity to speak with someone in confidence about what they are experiencing.

“Every champion has received specialist training to help support officers and staff when they need it.

“Creating lasting change in our approach to wellbeing is important to us. That is why we’re publicly offering our support to Time to Talk Day, being open about mental health and being ready to listen can make a positive difference to someone’s life.

“On Thursday, we will be encouraging our staff it is Time to Talk.”

Northumbria Police have released some steps to help officers. 

– Mindful Meditation Sessions have been held across the organisation by staff trained in mindful meditation techniques and as part of World Mental Health Day last October we worked in partnership with the NHS on their campaign #PeoplenotPlasters to show support for those facing mental health difficulties.

– Northumbria Police is leading on setting up a regional Blue Light Choir, in partnership between Sage Gateshead, NEMind, and the regional emergency services, after numerous research projects identified the benefits of singing on wellbeing.

– Regular wellbeing events, supported by charities and organisations who focus on health and wellbeing. The events provide advice and guidance to the workforce as well as opportunities to sample some of the services they can provide for staff.

– Appointing a Wellbeing and Engagement Manager.

Case Study

A police officer serving in the North East has opened up about mental health in a bid to get colleagues to talk about the strains of the job.

PC Karl Peterson was 40 years old when he joined Northumbria Police as a response officer – full of excitement at the potential of a future career protecting the people working and living in the North East.

He was posted to Southern Area Command where he thrived alongside the rest of his shift but seven years into his service the constant strain of dealing with blue light calls began to take its toll.

It wasn’t until he sought the help of Northumbria’s Occupational Health Unit (OHU) that he was able to get professional help from a counsellor and return to work as a Neighbourhood Beat Manager in South Tyneside.

Now Karl has made the brave decision to share his experience to try and encourage other members of the emergency services to seek support for any mental health issues they may experience.

He been appointed as one of Northumbria Police’s 30 Blue Light Champions who have received specialist training to recognise the signs of poor mental health in their colleagues and offer advice to those who need it.

Karl, who works in Hebburn and Jarrow Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “When I joined the police I felt alive with excitement and what the future held for me. I could not wait to get to work whatever shift I was on.

“But after a few years things slowly started to change. I felt like I was on an iceberg and it was slowly starting to melt. Eventually, after I had tried to patch it up a dozen or so times, I was left standing on a ice cube slipping into the water.

“I was nearly 50 and I was becoming very tired, I wasn’t sleeping, I was having arguments at home, arguments with supervision and I turned to drinking. I realised I had nothing more to give and little fuel in the tank to continue.

“The final straw was at the beginning of one night shift when my collar number was called on the radio. I started to shake, my heartbeat increased and I began sweating. At this point I knew I could not continue.

“I went to OHU and actually broke down. I realised I needed professional help and my turning point was when I fully engaged with a counsellor during one-to-one sessions. They helped me steady myself and eventually I returned to the station.

“We have excellent facilities at Northumbria Police and both the response and professional manner of the force’s OHU is what prevented me from leaving the job I strived so hard to get in the first place.

“Now I want to give something back by becoming a Blue Light Champion and giving my colleagues the peer support that was not available to me when I was at my lowest point.”

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Fancy being locked in a haunted police cell?

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Forget Halloween Fancy a spooky night of fun, locked in a haunted cell for 24 hours to raise money for charity. Then we have an event that is right up your street.

Following on from the success of the PC Edward Walker Tour, Jules Berry a DDO with the Met Police is back with her spooky haunted cell idea to raise money for COPS UK and WMP History Museum, That is exactly what you can do this Feb.

Met Police Detention Officer Jules Berry is arranging the whole event in partnership with the WMP History Museum and is hoping to raise thousands of pounds for charity.

The event will take place on the 8th and 9th of February 2019, but be quick as places are limited.

Unfortunately, Police Hour will no longer be live streaming this event to our 2.5 Million Followers, But we hope our readers can still attend and support this event.

Need we say any more, Simply watch this video then sign up

Hats off to Kerry Blakeman for his fantastic advertorial.

The event is being held to support the restoration of the West Midlands Police Museum and COPS UK.

About COPS

COPS is the UK charity dedicated to helping the families of police officers who have lost their lives in relation to their duty, to rebuild their lives.

Since being founded in 2003, they have helped hundreds of families shattered by the loss of their police officer.

They aim to ensure that surviving family members have all the help they need

to cope with such a tragedy and they remain part of the police family.

What COPS do?

COPS is a peer support charity, enabling Survivors from around the UK to support other Survivors in practical ways. They arrange local and national events that enable Survivors to build friendships and bonds that support them through the good times and bad.

Families are rightly proud of their officer and COPS to help ensure that they remain part of the police family.

What about the WMP History?

The West Midlands Police Museum at Coventry was opened in 1959 and celebrates the history of Coventry City Police which existed between 1839 & 1969, before becoming part of Warwickshire and Coventry Constabulary and in 1974, West Midlands Police.

The site at Sparkhill has been operating since 1995 when it moved there from the force’s training facility at Tally Ho! where it been operating as a CID training facility since the mid 1970s. Several of the exhibits had originated from the old Forensic Science Service laboratory when it moved from Newton Street to Gooch Street.

The Sparkhill museum contains items of policing memorabilia and old records from the West Midlands Police predecessor forces of Birmingham City Police, Walsall Borough Police, Dudley Borough Police, Wolverhampton Borough Police and West Midlands Constabulary. Some records are also held of Staffordshire County Police and Worcestershire officers as parts of those forces now fall within the West Midlands Police area.

You can also drop an email [email protected] to sign up, you must raise a minimum of £250 sponsorship.

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What on earth is happening in Salisbury? Two people fall seriously ill

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Emergency Services have launched a major incident after two people have fallen ill in Salisbury.

Officers have placed a cordon around Prezzo Restaurant after a man and woman were taken ill.

Police have declared a major incident. Police do not believe this is linked to Novichok.

Police received a call from the ambulance service to Prezzo restaurant, in High Street, at approximately 6.45pm. Two people, a man aged in his 40s and a woman aged in her 30s, had become unwell.

Due to recent events in the city and concerns that the pair had been exposed to an unknown substance, a highly precautionary approach was taken by all emergency services.

Both were taken to Salisbury District Hospital and were clinically assessed. We can now confirm that there is nothing to suggest that Novichok is the substance. Both people remain in hospital under observation.

The major incident status has now been stood down.

At this stage it is not yet clear if a crime has been committed and enquiries remain ongoing.

Salisbury District Hospital remains open as usual.

A cordon will remain in place around Prezzo at this time as part of ongoing routine enquiries. All other areas that were cordoned off will now be reopened.

We’d like to thank the public for their patience as a result of the impact of this incident.

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Homeless man covered in red spray paint found dead in cemetery days later

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Police say they are not linking the incidents together despite a vile video being uploaded to Facebook just days before.

Sick thugs covered the homeless man in red paint as he sat outside a supermarket, the attack was uploaded to facebook along with the the words : ‘This is how we deal with the beggars on the street. He is not even a beggar we spray them to death”.

Days later he was found dead, Police say these circumstances are non-suspicious.

The shocking video was shared on Facebook of Micheal Cash outside of Tesco Express in Normanby.

Despite Cash being found dead days later police refuse to link the death to this incident after his body was found in Eston Cemetery in Middlesbrough on Wednesday afternoon.

Crime Scene Investigators could be seen in the bushes within the cemetery and quickly put a cordon in place.

It has been speculated that Cash killed himself following the incident, but until circumstances are known we will not be able to speculate.

Police have confirmed the death is not suspicious there it is our assumption the circumstances around the death are no longer being investigated.

Police have not formally identified the body but a member of Mr Cash’s family confirmed they were visited by detectives on Wednesday.

Police have asked people not to speculate on social media regarding the incident.

Cleveland Police have released a statement saying “The death of a man whose body was found in Eston Cemetery on Wednesday 12th September is not being treated as suspicious.

“The man who is believed to be aged in his 30s has not yet been formally identified.

“A post-mortem examination has been held and although the death is not being treated as suspicious police believe this man was the victim of a previous incident of assault which resulted in the man being sprayed with red paint.

“The incident occurred near to Tesco Express on the High Street in Normanby and was reported to police on Sunday 9th September.”

Detective Inspector Matt Hollingsworth said: “Police are aware of the speculation on social media regarding the cause of the man’s death but we are not linking the assault with his death.

“Officers are carrying out enquiries in relation to the assault outside of Tesco and would appeal for anyone with information or anyone who witnessed it to contact Cleveland Police on the non-emergency number 101 quoting 166668, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org.”

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