Police officers and emergency responders often face traumatising situations during their careers. The stress that essential workers experience every day is something they cannot avoid, but it is something that they can get support with. Overloaded work schedules, a lack of support, and call-outs to difficult situations can contribute to a stressful work environment for police and other emergency workers.
Emergency service personnel are susceptible to psychological stress and other mental health issues. In Australia, the Police Association provides support and welfare services to police officers to help them through difficult times. Several studies have determined that many volunteers and employees in Australia report good mental health overall; however, when it comes to the police force, 20% of officers are at risk of experiencing PTSD, compared with just 1-3% of the general public.
Continue reading to learn more about the support and wellbeing services available to police in Australia.
Stress At Work Affects Productivity
It is vital that emergency services organisations implement strategies that promote mental health and wellbeing. Organisations are making strides to improve mental health strategies, and this is certainly encouraging. A healthy work environment promotes personal mental wellbeing and benefits the entire workforce. Positive people are more productive and inspire everyone around them. What’s more, motivated and engaged employees go above and beyond the norms of their job, which is what we need from our police services.
There is stress at work when capabilities, responsibilities, and resources do not match. While stress is a normal part of life, it can become a problem if it is ongoing. Stress comes in many forms, whether at work, at home, or while attending school. Police officers and other employees working with the police force should be offered mental health education to promote awareness, understanding, and communication to help them to interact with each other and the public respectfully.
Giving Back To The Police And Emergency Services
Police and other emergency service providers play a vital role in communities all over Australia. These vital workers deserve support and care to live healthy and fulfilled lives. Emergency workers put their lives at risk every day to ensure the general public’s safety, and they should be looked after as a result. Beyond Blue works to reduce suicide rates among emergency service workers and to provide a ‘good practise framework for mental health and wellbeing in police and emergency services organisations’. Members of law enforcement, fire, rescue units, volunteers and their families can all receive support to help them when needed.
Employee Programs Help Police Overcome Challenges
Police personnel and their families can access free, external and confidential counselling on an as-needed basis also. Converge International provides this service, which is available 24/7. Each year, the Police Force provides six sessions to employees and their families.
Legal issues, financial concerns, trauma, loss, and grief are often reasons that people seek counselling, and this counselling can help officers who are struggling with relationship problems and stress. Counselling also offers guidance and support in crises and can be beneficial to individuals experiencing difficulty balancing personal and professional responsibilities. Drug and alcohol abuse problems, which can often arise as coping mechanisms, are often addressed in counselling sessions as well.
Maintaining Confidentiality Is Important
Police officers depend on their spouses and families for support. The challenges of the job make support a necessity for emergency service personnel, and when police or their families reach out for support, they are treated with respect. Reaching out for support is not something that we should frown upon but something that we should praise. Taking responsibility for one’s mental health is admirable. When appointments are made, other members of the police force cannot view a list of users’ names, ensuring that counselling remains confidential, encouraging officers and their families to use it.
Support And Well-Being Services Are There To Help Those Who Need Them
Not every police officer will need support and well-being services. However, there are also those who do need it, but either don’t know where to go or are embarrassed to ask for help. These services are in place to help members of the police force and their families when they need them and should be utilised to help keep our trusted police officers safe and in good health. With all that they do for the general public, their well-being should never be overlooked.