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Force and PCC commit to improve mental wellbeing

Dorset Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Martyn Underhill, are showing continued support for nationwide initiatives to address mental health issues in the workplace.

The Force and the PCC, alongside mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, are committing to challenging mental health stigma and promoting positive wellbeing for all officers and staff.

One in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem in any given year and research shows that those working and volunteering in the emergency services are even more at risk than those in the general population, but are less likely to get support.

On Monday 7 December 2015, Dorset Police and the PCC officially signed the Mind Blue Light Pledge, and today the organisation will take part in Time to Talk Day, which forms part of the ‘Time to Change’ campaign lead by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

The ‘Blue Light Time to Change’ pledge was developed by Mind to help fight any stigma around mental health and to support organisations to make positive changes to improve mental health in the workplace.

Dorset Police’s People, Confidence and Equality Manager, Karen Duke-Glover, comments: “It is a Force priority to ensure that those with mental ill health receive the appropriate care when in contact with the police, and this duty of care extends to our officers and staff too.

“The nature of the job means that many of our employees are often under high levels of stress and pressure and may have to deal with issues which could be upsetting and disturbing.

“We are working with Mind to launch an internal support network which will be specifically focussed on mental wellbeing within the Force and will create the space for people to share their stories. We are also aiming to establish Mental Wellbeing Force Champions who will promote and maintain the support network, while acting as points of contact for those in need of support.”

This support network, based on increased dialogue around mental health, is at the heart of Mind’s Time to Talk Day initiative. The aim of the day is to encourage people to break the silence surrounding mental health, and empower them to speak about any issues.

Dorset Police are offering officers and staff the opportunity to attend drop-in sessions, where they can receive information, support and direction to professionally trained mental health agencies, which can provide invaluable guidance on tackling mental health issues.

PCC Martyn Underhill said: “I am privileged to have already recorded a national video for Mind on this important subject, the key message to all staff in my office and all Dorset Police employees is – it’s okay to ask for help.

“As an organisation, and as an employer, we will strive to look after you. We do need to remove the stigma that mental health in the workplace currently brings.”

You can find out more about Time to Talk Day and the Blue Light Pledge on the Mind website.

Blue light pledge