South Wales Police have held a special ‘masterclass’ to raise awareness on World mental health day, in conjunction with Mind Cymru and led by ACC Jon Drake.

As part of a series of masterclasses being run within the force, the mental health event included speakers such as John Sutherland and representatives of State of Mind.

The event which was held on 10 October was attended by over 90 officers and staff and also included a series of workshops focusing on topics such as financial wellbeing, coping with grief and loss and a real life case study of dealing with mental health in the workplace.

Each table was facilitated by an internal Blue Light Mental Health Champion, to enable the wider organisation to network with supporters in the workplace. The day gave attendees the opportunity to talk open about their own experiences of Mental Health and hear inspiring stories during workshops of officers and staff who discussed key issues such as their own resilience, managing staff with stress and even how to cope with family members struggling with mental health issues. The event was invaluable in being able to showcase the support available within South Wales Police and through partners such as Mind and Oscar Kilo, signposting attendees to the help they need and encouraging them to circulate this information to their own colleagues.

In addition the force also ran a series of articles on their intranet highlighting the five ways to wellbeing and initiatives within force which support these principals such as Blue Light champions and volunteer opportunities. They are also a pilot force for the College of Policing’s mindfulness programme with 300 staff participating.

ACC Jon Drake said: “World Mental Health Day was an ideal opportunity for us to highlight to our employees the importance of looking after their mental health and our commitment to help them do that.

“The masterclass proved extremely popular and we were privileged to have some inspirational and well known speakers.

“Our staff’s wellbeing is a top priority for the force and is include in our three year plan. We are keen to provide staff with the opportunity to break the stigma around talking about mental health by hearing from those who have experienced the same issues and to know they are not alone.

“We’re all human. We all have mental health. Talking about it makes a difference and Mental health awareness day is just one way we are encouraging the bigger conversation here in South Wales.”