An Garda Síochána Launches Strategy to Support Health & Wellbeing of Personnel
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An Garda Síochána has today launched a three-year strategy that will see the introduction of additional health and wellbeing supports for personnel, as well as the strengthening of existing supports.
Currently, Garda personnel can access a range of supports such as 24/7 confidential counselling service, the Garda Employee Assistance Service, Garda Occupational Health Service and peer support from colleagues from across the organisation. Recently, specific psychological supervision and supports were put in place for Garda personnel working in Cyber Crime, Protective Services, and Specialist Interviewing.
Under the Garda Health and Wellbeing Strategy, which is being introduced as part of the Government’s A Policing Service For Our Future programme, a number of initiatives will be introduced including:
- A 24/7 Wellbeing App allowing staff to access critical support and wellbeing information directly on a 24/7 basis.
- The establishment of a Garda National Wellbeing Office under the Garda Chief Medical Officer.
- A Wellbeing Hub on the Garda intranet with information and advice on health and wellbeing.
- Customised support training for those who have a role in providing wellbeing support services including supervisors and managers.
- A new easy-to-follow protocol for post-traumatic incidents support for all personnel including Gardaí working in Cyber Crime, Protective Services & Specialist Interviewing.
- Initiatives to reduce stigma around mental health difficulties and supporting Garda personnel in maintaining their wellbeing;
The new Health and Wellbeing strategy was created in collaboration with many internal and external stakeholders in response to two things; the 2018 Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland (CoFPI) and the Garda Health Needs Assessment Survey in 2019 which was carried out by independent firm Crowe on behalf of An Garda Síochána. Over 5,200 Garda personnel made it clear that a more proactive approach to health and wellbeing is needed across the Garda organisation.
CoFPI identified policing as a rewarding, challenging and sometimes dangerous career. To support our colleagues as they manage these challenges, An Garda Síochána is committed to proactively delivering on the CoFPI recommendations to create a workplace that places the health and wellbeing of employees at the forefront of what we do, through the following strategic goals.
1. Identify Communicate and Enhance Existing Resources – which will see amongst other measures the promotion of key supports, including the Garda Employee Assistance Service, Peer Supporters and the Garda Occupational Health Service.
2. Promote Health, Wellbeing & Work Ability across the Organisation – will see a range of initiatives implemented including sharing of best practice on health and wellbeing, raising awareness, and the introduction of an Annual Wellbeing Week.
3. Develop Partnerships with Key Stakeholders Inside & Outside An Garda Síochána to Build Capacity & to Provide Support & Advice – which will include development and enhancement of relationships with other blue light organisations in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK; as well as further development of our existing relationship with Oscar Kilo, the UK Police Wellbeing Service
Speaking today on the launch of the strategy Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said:
This Strategy will enable An Garda Síochána to deliver on our vision to support and promote health, wellbeing and work ability amongst our Gardaí and Garda staff.
Our people really are our greatest resource. It is important that we challenge the stigmas associated with mental health and instil confidence in our personnel that they will be treated with dignity and respect, whatever their situation may be.