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"It's important to see the person behind that stab vest"

"It's important to see the person behind that stab vest"

Published by Grace Marner
12:00pm 11th September 2019. (Updated at 12:51pm 11th September 2019)

They can be called to traumatic situations every day in Norfolk. 

That's why it's vital that police officers take care of their mental health.

We've been speaking to Norfolk Police about how they support the mental health of their officers. 

police officers
PHOTO CREDIT: Cambridgeshire Police

Back in February, Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies announced a new collaboration to provide staff and officers with bespoke mental health support when they need it most. 

The partnership is between the constabularies and the Norfolk-based Walnut Tree Health and Wellbeing Community Interest Company (CIC).

It also includes immediate and round-the-clock support from its Community Response Team for staff and officers living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), trauma and complex mental ill health.

 

The Norfolk and Suffolk forces are believed to be the first forces in the country to be providing staff and officers with such a bespoke trauma support service that also includes round-the-clock support.

KLFM spoke to Lauren, the Head of Workplace Safety and Wellbeing with the Constabulary. She says it's easy for the public to see a uniform rather than a person:

"We can kind of just see that uniform and say what we think about the police service as opposed to thinking about how that's potentially going to impact on a person. 

"Our police officers are working really hard to protect our communities and it's important to see the person behind that stab vest."

police jacket

 

She also said often they don't want to talk to their family about the things they've seen on the job:

"They're seeing some really horrific things on a daily basis and don't get that time to be able to switch off so it's really important that people speak out and get that support when they need to. 

"Being able to debrief and talk things through is one of the best ways of being able to deal with those traumatic incidents.

"However a lot of people don't want to go home or can't go home and talk to their families about it so that's why we have our services in house to be able to allow for that debrief so people can talk things through and process it in a healthy way."

 

All officers and staff will be having mental health awareness training:

"It's very focused on our internal officers and staff so being able to support our colleagues and our friends and identifying where those early warning signs are so that we can signpost people rather than thinking 'oh yeah I thought there was an issue but I never wanted to ask that question because I didn't know how to'". 

"People are starting to talk about it within the workplace which is allowing us to be able to do some more of that work around reducing the stigma and getting people that help that they need at that early time."

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