08 May 2019

An innovative training programme has been launched by the Trust and police to help officers cope with the mental pressures they can face in the job.

ELFT has worked with Bedfordshire Police to develop the Wellbeing Duty Belt initiative.

Bedfordshire officers receive training and insight from Trust staff and from people with personal experience of mental health challenges to understand how to look after their own mental wellbeing and how to support colleagues.

The project has been developed from a ‘people first’ perspective and the aim is to embed a culture where individuals feel able to openly discuss mental health issues and feel equipped with the tools to looks after themselves and others.

It was designed by two of the Trust’s People Participation leads, Jon Southam and Millie Smith, and CBT therapist Claire Hill in partnership with service users from Luton and Bedfordshire Police colleagues Nicky Burns and Sgt Ben Dimmock, the force mental health champion.

The programme covers conditions including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“The police do an amazing job, often in hugely difficult circumstances,” said Jon Southam, the Trust’s project lead and People Participation lead for Luton.

“The hope is through this programme we can equip officers with their own metaphorical duty belt which has all of the tools needed to maintain good mental health and to support fellow officers.”

The programme is supported with an eight-page co-produced document for officers containing information and resources.