Mental health training in Greater Manchester

Over 900 police officers have received training in stress management after attending wellness seminars funded by the Police Dependants’ Trust.

The workshop series, now in its second year, was organised by Greater Manchester Police Force and is one of the latest mental wellbeing projects the Trust has supported.

The ten one-day events, which ran between June and September 2017, included sessions on reducing work induced stress, mindfulness and empowerment, and meditation. Guest speaker John Pommells, a health coach, spoke about the prevalence of anti-depressant use in the Force and alternative coping strategies.

Attendees also learnt about the importance of nutritional and physical fitness in frontline policing.

Inspector Damian O’Reilly MBE of Greater Manchester Police organised the seminar series. He told the Trust he was motivated by his personal and professional experience of the pressures officers work under.

“I am very much aware of the impact of stress on officers. I have been a Federation representative for almost a decade,” he said. “In this time I have assisted officers through some incredibly stressful times in their careers.

In addition, a close colleague of mine sadly took his own life in December 2015 in tragic circumstances whilst clearly suffering from an inability to address issues within his life.”

Reflecting on the sessions, O’Reilly said that he hoped the workshops would help change attitudes to stress among frontline officers.

“John and I shared personal issues with the groups to highlight that everybody experiences difficulties from time to time. This approach has made a lot of people feel that they are not alone in their problems.”