Annabel Poate-Joyner, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, has worked extensively with police officers since 1998 providing specialist psychological assessment and therapy, individual and management coaching, support and supervision, and specialist Occupational Health & Wellbeing services.
Like everybody and anybody, police officers and other emergency services personnel may experience relationship, family and interpersonal problems, medical problems, disability, bereavement, money worries, work-place stresses and major life events, which may result in mood problems, relationship and work-related difficulties, and the normal range of common mental health issues.
However, trained professionals in public service may also face repreated exposure to potentially traumatising and hazardous situations in the line of their work, including the threat or actual injury, disability and death to themselves and others.
Professionals such as these are well-trained to be committed and resilient and unflinching in the face of everything that their duty throws at them. Such uniquely challenging demands in the line of duty brings significant risk of trauma to their own emotional and psychological health and safety, and to their general wellbeing.However, they may not realise, or perhaps don't want to accept it, if they find that they are really struggling to cope, perhaps feeling that they should omehow be able to deal with their own problems by themselves. I have heard so many times "I never thought it could happen to me!"
When professionals do develop significant and distressing emotional difficulties and mental health problems, even suicidal thoughts and self-harming acts and substance abuse, this needs to be recognised in the first place and referred promptly to a specialist service, in order to be properly assessed and understood by specialist and highly-qualfied clinicians and treated effectively with the appropriate NICE-recommended therapy for their individualised clinical issues.