Police pledge to fight the stigma of mental health

Chief Supt Zoe Sheard and Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Jim Battle with the signed the Blue Light Time to Change Pledge
Chief Supt Zoe Sheard and Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Jim Battle with the signed the Blue Light Time to Change Pledge

WIGAN’S police have vowed to challenge mental health stigma and promote “positive wellbeing” among staff.

The Mind Blue Light Time to Change Pledge was signed on the first day of a mental health awareness week for all Greater Manchester Police personnel.

It is supported by an action plan which states the Force’s commitment to deliver a number of activities that will support the mental welfare of those within the organisation, whether officers or backroom staff.

During the launch event, attendees heard about experiences of officers and staff, and were shown a message of support recorded by presenter and chair of MIND, Stephen Fry.

Chief Supt Zoe Sheard, who leads on wellbeing for Greater Manchester Police, said: “At GMP the wellbeing of our employees is paramount.

“Looking out for the welfare of our colleagues and ourselves is essential for us to provide an effective service to our communities.

“We also realise that our lives are unpredictable, both professionally and personally, which may lead us to experience mental health difficulties at any time during their service.

“Signing the Mind Blue Light Time to Change Pledge reflects this commitment to our staff and colleagues.

“Mental health issues can affect any of us, at any time and is not something to be ashamed of.

“On the contrary, having experience of mental ill health helps to develop empathy for others who may be experiencing similar difficulties – whether in the workplace or out in the community, and can therefore enhance our ability to deliver a caring and responsive service to the public.”

Greater Manchester Police joins a growing movement of more than 300 employers across England who are working to tackle mental health and to help keep their staff well for work.

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Jim Battle, who signed the pledge with Chief Supt Sheard, said: “People who work in public services and especially police officers and staff have to work in difficult and stressful circumstances.

“It is our duty to ensure that their wellbeing and welfare is properly looked after.

“This initiative fits in with the developing approach across Greater Manchester, recognising that we all have a responsibility to challenge the stigma around mental health and provide the best advice and support.”

The pledge is backed by the force’s own action plan outlining the commitment that the organisation is making to support staff.

It is the product of continued partnership with mental health trusts and charities such as Mind.

It ensures officers and staff are supported and can provide the best support for those sufferers in need of care and the best treatment.