Devon & Cornwall Police held their second annual health conference yesterday at Plymouth Argyle Football Club.
130 police officers and staff from all levels of the organisation came together to hear a wide range of speakers to encourage male colleagues to talk openly about mental health and promote general wellbeing.
Event organisers Detective Chief Inspector Matt Bourne, Detective Sergeant Alex Dawson and PC Steven Merret put the event together in their spare time. DCI Matt Bourne was pleased with the response from male colleagues who attended. He said, “The whole event was about breaking barriers for men and to encourage them to talk openly and about their feelings and emotions. All the speakers were chosen for their experience and knowledge on the matter and you could hear a pin drop when speakers were sharing their stories and experiences.
“The Mind Blue Light 2015 survey told us that emergency workers are twice as likely to identify work as the main cause of mental health problems compared to the general workforce. When looking at this in relation to men we know we need to step up the support of those around us, especially when 75% of all suicides in the UK are men and that men are four times less likely to seek help when needed compared to women.
“This is the reason why, having experienced difficulties of my own, that myself and my colleagues were keen to put events like this on for men, showing them that it’s ok to find some situations challenging and that talking, and sharing can really help.
“Our hosts, Plymouth Argyle have been especially supportive of our event as have Police Care UK who have helped to fund the event through a special grant.”
Those attending the event will heard from numerous speakers including Professor Frank Dick OBE who as well as being Daley Thompson’s coach through the 1980’s, managed the GB Olympic Team through four Olympics cycles. They also heard from Carola Becker a certified nutritionist and founder of ‘Life is Good Nutrition’ and will talk about the effect foods have on our mental and physical health.
Detective Chief Inspector Bourne’s aim for the day was for those attending to leave feeling they can talk openly about the challenges they face. He said: “I saw my colleagues openly approach the speakers to share their stories, but also started talking to each other. We are encouraging them to take their experiences back into the work place and share with their colleagues who were unable to attend.”
The event took place on Wednesday 12 February at Plymouth Argyle Football Club.
Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News