‘Pandemic adds to the strain on people’

Gwent Police Federation chair Steve Thorpe is encouraging members to look out for each other’s mental health during International Stress Awareness Week.

Steve said: “Talking to friends and colleagues can be a great source of support through a stressful period. This is why it’s a key focus of the Federation’s Hear ‘Man Up’, Think ‘Man Down’ campaign, which aims to get officers talking to one another.

“We’ve all felt under pressure as police officers, and we’ve seen how the Covid-19 pandemic has heaped further strain on people.

“It’s when we become overwhelmed by that stress that we need someone to turn to. Often we know our colleagues as well as anyone and can see the changes in their mood or can tell when they’re not coping, and then support them to get help if they need it.”

Steve was speaking at the start of International Stress Awareness Week, which runs from 2 to 6 November and includes National Stress Awareness Day tomorrow (4 November).

The week aims to shine a light on stress and mental health problems, raise awareness and promote support services.

Steve said: “We’re encouraging members to use this International Stress Awareness Week as a chance to focus on themselves.

“It’s a chance to take some time to think about your own wellbeing and how you can manage your stress.”

To help, Police Mutual has produced a factsheet with tips on how to manage your stress such as exercise, organising your time and talking to friends, family or colleagues.

Steve said: “The factsheet contains tips on how to manage your stress such as eating well, organising your time and avoiding unhealthy ways to cope such as alcohol or gambling.

“And don’t forget that the Federation is always here for those members who need help or support.”