Police officers have received positive, life changing experiences at The Flint House Police Rehabilitation Centre after they sought help with their mental health.
 
That’s according to Tracey Tozer, the charity’s clinical lead for its mental health programme. 
 
Nearly 10,000 police officers took time off due to stress, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the past financial year.
 
But Flint House is here to help.
 
Tracey said more and more officers are receiving assistance thanks to a reduction in the stigma around mental health.
 
She said: “You see a lightbulb moment in a session where we’re giving information and educating and you can see it in a police officer’s eyes. They’re thinking: ‘Is that it? Is that what I’ve been struggling with and is that what I’ve got to do to make it better?’.
 
“To see somebody come in on a Monday morning, it’s their first time here at Flint House and they are a bit nervous about what’s going to happen. And then gradually as the process happens, as the learning happens and the environment allows them to relax, to see them at the end of their stay is fantastic.
 
“It makes it really worthwhile for everybody that works here, not just myself on the clinical team but for the housekeepers, the restaurant staff, the admin team. You can all say, ‘That police officer came in really nervous on that day but look at them going out now’. It really does make a difference.”
 
Police officers can struggle with their mental health for a number of reasons, be they personal, exposure to trauma, work demand, shift work, the constant scrutiny or simply due to the physical stress caused by body armour and heavy kit, Tracey said.
 
Tracey said: “Attitudes to mental health are changing. We do still see the stigma for police officers when they’re here. They don’t want to talk openly about things because they’re worried about feeling weak. So the ‘embarrassment’ of having to come somewhere and get help for mental health support is something that we address and we offer police officers a different language to use about themselves.
 
“It might be that they’re having a difficult time at the moment, given the circumstances that they’re in, and acknowledging that with the job they do it’s understandable that they might feel like this at the moment. To hide all those feelings is what’s causing their difficulty. To find the language and the terminology to talk about it safely is quite a big part of our job.”