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Greg

Greg Dean

Year of Award: 2017 Award State: Victoria Emergency Services > Police
Health And Medicine > Mental Health
To investigate early intervention in mental illnesses for serving police and peer support for former police employees - USA, Canada, UK, Hong Kong
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Recommendations

The following recommendations are made as a result of my research and the information I gathered during my fellowship from other policing organisations. This research and information gathered is detailed throughout this report. They have been created based on what has been both successfully implemented and resulted in positive outcomes for both the individual and his or her employer. Each recommendation can be considered independently or as a series of recommendations. They are not solely directed at Victoria Police and can be considered as relevant to any emergency service or other organisation. I am happy to explore anything further through my contacts to assist an organisation in exploring either one or more of these recommendations or during its implementation. These recommendations are in no particular order.

  1. Presumptive legislation to be considered for all diagnosed mental illnesses found to have been caused by the workplace, or from the attendance at either at a single traumatic event or due to the cumulative effect of attending numerous traumatic events. This legislation will provide accelerated and appropriate treatment for the employee and result in a quicker return to good health and the work.
  2. Internal policy to be created to mandate visits to a psychologist in the event of an employee/s involvement in nominated critical incidents, such as an officer involved in a shooting, or their attendance at certain traumatic events. The policy could also allow activation by managers within any workplace in relation to their staff who are exposed to any traumatic event or incident that may cause psychological harm.
  3. The establishment of a retreat (West Coast Post Trauma Retreat) or treatment centre type facility (Police Treatment Centre) where psychologically injured employees can attend to receive clinical treatment, peer support and education on their health, lifestyle, nutrition and mental health. This establishment needs to be safe, comfortable and confidential.
  4. That Victoria Police Wellbeing Services and other relevant work units to be re-located into premises that aren’t externally identified or within a police building or complex. This will reduce anxiety, apprehension and embarrassment of injured employees attending these support services and most likely will also reduce the stigma of help seeking and improve self-referral opportunities.
  5. All internal police psychology staff to be trained in EMDR therapy to gain a better understanding of its function and application. This will also assist when they are providing advice and assistance to injured employees and arranging referrals to the EAP service.
  6. Consideration for the implementation of a proactive health and wellbeing program, similar to or in fact utilising The Real You program. The detailed and published results of The Real You program aligned to the Ottawa Police Service clearly outline the benefits for both the employee and employer and highlight improvements in both the employee’s health and lifestyle.
  7. All newly promoted employees from the rank of sergeant and above to receive a specifically designed electronic information pack outlining their roles and responsibilities in relation to the health and wellbeing of themselves and their staff, both in the field and in the office environment. This pack could include items such as relevant contact numbers, email and intranet/internet addresses and links, information brochures, guidelines and references and information from relevant external stakeholders.
  8. Family education to be included during each graduation ceremony where a family member is presented with a gift bag that includes Dr Kevin Glimartin’s book; Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement, other relevant publications and information around mental health and support services offered.
  9. Consideration for Victoria Police to personally issue all employees with mobile telephones with relevant wellbeing applications and contact details of both internal and external support services. This will ensure that all employees will have access to these services 24/7.
  10. Key tags be produced that list the contact details for Wellbeing Services and be made a mandatory accessory to every set of car keys issued to Victoria Police.
  11. Victoria Police Wellbeing Services contact details to be prominently displayed on mouse pads issued to every workplace as well as on every computer home screen within Victoria Police.
  12. All employees to be required to expend their long service leave within a nominated time frame from its accrual date. This is to ensure employees have regular time off from work in an attempt to improve their work-life balance.
  13. Consideration for employees to be given the option to cash out a certain percentage or invest portions of their sick leave entitlement into health insurance premiums on retirement or when exiting from Victoria Police.
  14. Facilitate a visit to Victoria Police by Chief of Police James Viadero and Officer William Chapman from the Newtown Police Department in the wake of their involvement in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. The purpose of their visit would be to talk to Victoria Police employees about the importance of knowing your staff, why normalising conversations around mental health is important and how important the role of a leader or manager can be in reducing the stigma of help seeking in relation to mental illnesses. These presentations can be recorded and then utilised as an online education tool in future years.

Keywords: Police, First responders, Law enforcement, Mental health, Help seeking, Peer support, Psychologist, Stigma, Early intervention

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