Commitment to Mental Health Well-Being
In support of World Mental Health Day 2017, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, highlights the continued commitment of Gwent Police and his office to develop appropriate mental health services and provision.
The theme for World Mental Health Day (Tuesday October 10th) this year is workplace wellbeing. PCC Jeff Cuthbert today emphasised the work undertaken by Gwent Police and his office to develop appropriate mental health provision which supports the well-being of their officers and staff and people in the community who may be experiencing a mental health crisis.
Gwent Police has established a dedicated Mental Health Support Network, which is a peer support group that any officer or staff member can access internally. It also has a Mental Health Champion programme that sees volunteers trained to provide peer support and guidance to colleagues who may be living with a mental health condition.
The Police service in Gwent has also invested in areas such as mental health first aid training, and trauma resilience and management training for frontline police constables and sergeants exposed to potentially traumatic incidents. The service has also secured funding from the Police Dependants Trust to roll out a completely innovative approach to helping officers become resilient to trauma before they are exposed to it. By providing this investment, it is expected to see absence levels reduce; an improved awareness of mental health amongst the workforce; and improved sensitivity in external service delivery.
Following a successful pilot, the Police Control Room Clinical Advisor (PCRCA) project is also being expanded in Gwent.
The project, which is jointly funded by Mr Cuthbert's Office and the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, sees dedicated mental health specialists working alongside Gwent Police in the control room to ensure that when vulnerable people with a mental health illness or suffering a crisis come into contact with them, they receive appropriate care. This is aimed at reducing demand on police officers where mental health is an underlying factor, managing risk and harm in relation to mental health crisis and to ensure that appropriate care and support is delivered in a timely way. The expansion of the project from one to six posts, including a Supervisor, has been approved.
The mental health practitioner based at the Connect Gwent victims’ hub in Blackwood also continues to provide specialist support for victims of crime with mental health requirements to help them cope and recover from their victimisation. Since April 2015, nearly 250 victims have been referred to the Well-being Practitioner based within Connect Gwent for psychiatric help.
Highlighting the importance of investing in mental health well-being provision, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, said: “All of these projects and initiatives are part of the commitment of my office and Gwent Police to support the key principles outlined within the Wales Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat. I am committed to investing in and providing excellent support for all individuals living with mental health requirements whether that’s our officers and staff internally or people we come into contact with in the community. One in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year and awareness days such as this one play an important role in enhancing people’s understanding about mental health.”