Policing Voices – Supporting each other… We can’t let the balloons pop.

Through the tool that is Social Media I have been fortunate to speak to a variety of people from many walks of life.

During these I have been able to understand how low people are feeling, what they have gone through and what they do to help themselves and others.

I have formed the opinion that Policing can indeed, be a harmful job, to your physical and mental health.

For the most part, Officers and staff are facing traumatic incidents at a frightening regularity. It is these events, that might be large or small, that can cause a lot of damage to our mental health and wellbeing.

I liken it to a balloon being filled with air. Our minds are the balloon, the traumatic events are the air.

Put too much in, without some form of release, and eventually even the most durable and adaptable balloon will simply pop. We don’t want this to happen to us, our colleagues and our staff.

Whilst at a recent Mind Charity run course for line managers, we were introduced to the idea of the Wellness Action Plans (WAPs). If you haven’t heard of them, pop along to https://www.mind.org.uk/ and have a look.

This, is simple, but could be a very effective tool for everyone to use. Breaking it down to the simplest form of finding out what support an individual needs.

There is a set of questions, based on what causes stress for the individual and what can be done, by them and us, to reduce the risk of it harming their mental health.

It functions as a guide to early warning signs for the individual person.

We may not always be able to reduce the amount of trauma that a person is exposed to, but we can become better at recognising when that person is not coping.

And by having that honest discussion about what works/doesn’t work for us as an individual, we can learn to release some of that trauma.

The quicker that we do this, the better for the individual.

The main thing, is that we have to get better at

  • Talking
  • Listening
  • Supporting

Otherwise, we will lose more of our colleagues and friends. Policing is in crisis, we have to make a difference, for all of our sakes.

I will leave this, with a message that I got from a friend of mine….

“I’m physically okay for full-time policing but honestly, a lot of the time I feel like my cup is so close to full, that if I see anything mega sad or bad I’d just cry”

Words by @MetPolSgt