A FREE, confidential counselling and support service has been launched to help West Midlands Police officers and staff in their hour of need.
The force has, for the first time, launched an employee assistance programme which gives its people free access to counselling and advice, 24/7.
The new service allows employees to self refer for help, at any time of the day or night, regardless of their issue and, where needed, will give officers and staff access to one-to-one counselling sessions to help them through difficult times.
Rebecca Davis, Assistant Director of Organisation Development and Learning, said: “The launch of the service, known as WMP B-Well, is a major offer to all officers and staff – we’ve never provided anything like this before.
“The scheme has been a long time in the making, but it is an excellent service which every member of WMP can access, whether they are a frontline officer who’s been called to a traumatic incident or someone who works as support staff but needs some help to cope with stress or issues in their life.
“It is free and comes with no strings or caveats – anyone can call for support without the additional worry or fear of having to discuss their issues with their line manager first, if they don’t want to.”
Other than anonymised data about the number of people using the service, the actual detail of individuals and what they discuss remains entirely confidential and independent from the force.
Head of Wellbeing, Tina Cook, added: “We have been told time and time again that this is something that the force needs and so we are delighted to be delivering an assistance programme for all colleagues in direct response to their feedback.
“We know that one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health issue in any given year and people who work or volunteer in the emergency services are at higher risk of a mental health issue than most, so it is key we keep this issue at the forefront of our wellbeing work.”
WMP B-Well is the first major project to be delivered by the new People and Organisation Development (POD) department and forms a major part of the force’s offer under the People Deal – the force’s promise to its people.
The new-look department is created under WMP2020 – the force’s modernisation programme.