Cleveland Police is once again supporting national World Mental Health Day taking place today, Sunday 10th October.
World Mental Health Day is a global event that helps people and workplaces to recognise the importance of improving access to mental health information and encourages people to speak out, and reach out, if they’re suffering in silence.
Speaking about the importance of the national campaign, Cleveland Police Director People and Development Lynne Swift said: “Life has been tough for everyone during the pandemic. Our daily lives have changed considerably, the months of lockdown and loss have had a huge impact on our mental health.
“At Cleveland Police we continue to support the wellbeing of our officers and staff through a range of initiatives within the force. Policing is a challenging profession and dealing with trauma and risk to life on a day-to-day basis can affect officer and staff wellbeing.
“The support available encourages our officers and staff to talk about their mental health and ask for help if they need it. In turn, this assists our officers and staff when supporting the mental health of those we help when protecting the most vulnerable people in our community.
“As a Force, we’re proud to support World Mental Health Day and I want our officers and staff and the public to know that sometimes it’s okay not to be okay.”
In July, the Force welcomed its first ‘Oscar Kilo OK 9’ Wellbeing and Trauma Support dogs. Bella, a 1-year-old female Labrador and Husky cross and Sol, a 9-year-old male Standard Poodle are working with the Force’s Blue Light and Wellbeing Team on a programme of wellbeing events.
Their handlers are trained in First Aid Mental Health and Peer Support and are available, on a voluntary basis, to any officers and staff who may need signposting to other services available within the Force.
Alongside the Wellbeing and Trauma Support dogs, the Force has also recently worked in partnership with the Tees Suicide Prevention Task Force and the North East and North Cumbria Suicide Prevention Network to use Suicide Prevention Resource Tins in police stations.
The tins hold a range of resources with support numbers, information, advice and tips of what to say to someone in crisis. The tins aim to help officers and staff to look out for each other and encourage people to seek early help if they are struggling.
The tins can also be found in GP surgeries, pharmacies, Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments, care homes, hostels and other health care settings, and are also used by other emergency services’ agencies such as the Fire and Ambulance Service. Additionally, they can also be found in the local community in places such as hairdressers, community halls, gyms, job centres and educational settings.
Michelle Glenton, Cleveland Police Wellbeing Manager said: “Access to health support in person was disrupted during the pandemic, and we’ve relied heavily on signposting people to online resources and information – and generally helping each other as best we could.
“I’m pleased that despite these challenging times we have been able to introduce new initiatives to our wellbeing programme, and we are always looking for new ways to help and support our officers, staff and members of the community.
“Through the recent introductions to the programme, and a committed team and network of Blue Light Champions, who help to break down stigma in the workplace, we remain committed to supporting mental health and wellbeing. Today on World Mental Health Day, and every day to come.”