This month, as Head of Clinical Services, I have been asked to write our monthly blog bringing news of our Psychological Wellbeing Programme (PWP) and future plans.
October 10th is World Mental Health Day and it is a good time for all to consider their own mental wellbeing needs. The Mental Health Charity Mind, cites 5 key ways to wellbeing: Connect, Be Active, Learn, Take Notice and Give. We will all have our own strengths and weaknesses on that list and we may have all have different coping strategies which we employ to deal with stress but taking the time and creating the space to talk to others about any difficulties we are experiencing can be key to improving wellbeing and I know there are many ‘Tea and Talk’ events taking place in forces this week.
If you do not have time for anything else on October the 10th, can I recommend taking just a couple of minutes to look at Mind’s guide to wellbeing https://bit.ly/2qzLZ1j There are plenty of useful self-help tips on there that any of us can put to good use. Sometimes even small changes can have a hugely positive effect.
At the PTCs we try and engage as much as possible with the Occupational Health and Wellbeing departments of all our constituent forces and it is apparent that there are some great initiatives taking place at a local level to help support officers. In recent weeks we have attended events at North Wales Police Federation Health and Wealth Event, Newcastle BTP 999 Wellbeing event organised by the BTP Female Police Association and the Glasgow BTP Division Wellbeing Day. We have also had representation at a Wellbeing Event at Blackpool Police Station and promotional material at the Lancashire Police Federation Wellbeing Wagon.
Our Psychological Wellbeing Programme works best when we can liaise well with our forces and when they have a clear picture of where the programme might fit into the package of care for their officer; in essence we aim to be a part of the solution, not the sole answer. With that in mind, it is always great to welcome representatives from Occupational Health or Wellbeing departments to the Centres and I would like to extend an open invitation to all such staff to come and visit us. There’s nothing like seeing in person what we do and being able to discuss how we can best support your work.
Representatives from Optima Health who provide Police Scotland’s Occupational Health support, recently visited Castlebrae spending time with Head Nurse Amy Williamson and DEO Graeme Addison. They left very impressed with what they had seen and the knowledge they had gained of our services.
The Scottish Police Federation have very generously given us a grant of £25,000 to allow us to commission an external study of the benefits of the PWP and also explore the wider context of psychological wellbeing services in the Police service. We are already thinking about how we will structure our services when we are able to open our new wing in 2020 and this research will certainly help to provide some insight in identifying potential new developments.
Over the last six months we have been internally auditing the PWP by following up those who have attended the programme six weeks after they leave us and I would very much like to thank all the officers who took the trouble to reply to our e-mail survey. The survey closes at the end of November and we can then begin to fully analyse the results, but the early indications are that the programme continues to have an extremely positive effect on people’s mental wellbeing after they leave the Centres. To follow are quotes from previous wellbeing patients following their treatment with us:
Some exciting times ahead and plenty to keep us busy!
Mark Oxley, Head of Clinical Services