Policing isn’t a 9 to 5, Monday to Friday job – so we try our best to make sure that the resources and support we offer are available in a way that means you can access them whenever is most convenient.
On this page, you will find a collection of some of the guidance and support, designed as part of the National Police Wellbeing Service (NPWS), that you can take away and keep to help you look after yourself and others.
Police officers and staff do a critical job in keeping our society safe and it’s only right that you feel supported in the work that you do.
The types of issues you face can be some of the most difficult and challenging in society – you have the potential to see the best and the very worst of humanity, whilst trying to lead ‘normal’ lives which is why it is so important that we do what we can to support you.
The NPWS is designed specifically by policing, for policing, and is led by serving and retired officers and staff from around the country. We work with experts from across the UK and abroad to bring the most relevant and effective resources to you and your force.
We hope this information on this page will:
- help you recognise the signs and symptoms of stress, burnout and secondary trauma
- provide useful tips and exercises to help you cope or deal with these issues when they arise - for you to think about these issues, not just for yourself, but for your teams, friends and family
- point you in the right direction so you know what to do, or where to go when you need support
Don’t forget, we have lots of other things available to you and your force, that you can access through this website.
- Better Sleep - online learning resources tackling fatigue Individual resilience training sessions online.
- MindFit Cop - online mindfulness training.
- Wellbeing news, blogs and real stories, including videos and animations.
- Signposts to helpful resources and services.
- The wellbeing vans – your force can book a visit from a wellbeing van.
- Peer support for wellbeing.
- Downloadable resources, signposts and campaign materials.
What you can do
In the first few days after the traumatic event.
First of all, remember, it is normal to experience some distress after exposure to a major trauma. This may include difficulties in sleeping, distressing thoughts and memories popping into mind, nightmares, irritability, feelings of helplessness, reliving aspects of what has happened and thinking that you should have done more to help.
Seeking social support from family, friends and people that are trusted is important during the first few days.
Although talking about what happened can be helpful, you should not be forced to talk about your experiences. It may be more important for you to have quiet time to think things through. Do what works for you.
It has been shown to be helpful to talk to colleagues in a debriefing as this gives you an opportunity to organise what has happened into a coherent story which can reduce feelings of helplessness.
Trying to get back to the routine things in life can be helpful, for example having times for getting up, going to bed and eating can give a sense of normality to life.
Spiritual beliefs can be strengthened and tested by disasters. For some people, faith groups can be a source of support.
For parents and child carers providing open, honest and direct information to children about what is known and explanations of their own and other adult reactions they may have seen can be helpful.
In the following weeks and months.
Most people find their initial difficulties settle down and they can return to a more normal life within a few weeks.
For a few people, the problems persist or get more intense. It is important for you to contact your occupational health if your difficulties go on for longer than a month.
Sometimes there is a delay in the response to the trauma, the experience of “shock” and unreality allows a gradual intake of what happened – be aware of this.
People can begin to experience other difficulties such as avoiding people or places or developing panic attacks or anxiety when faced with reminders of what happened.
Self care campaign
For more information on looking after yourself visit our self care campaign. This campaign pulls together messages and resources that you can use in your force to educate and support officers and staff with their mental health.