The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mr. James Oppong-Boanuh has charged senior police officers who have undergone training on mental health to ensure that they put their expertise to bear and halt what is suspected to rising cases of suicide among personnel within the service.
He conceded at a training for 480 Senior Police Officers that policing is one of the most stressful, demanding and potentially depressing professions adding that globally among most law enforcement officers, suicide has been considered an occupational hazard resulting from job stress, long hours of work, societal pressure, adjustment problems, unmet expectations, fierce threats in the line of duty, exposure to dangers and accident scenes, marital problems, availability of firearms and alcoholism.
To this end, he underscored the need to urgently reverse these occupational setbacks with the setting up of a Counselling Unit reiterating the commitment of Police Administration to improve the psychological wellbeing of members of the Service.
“A number of Police personnel are going through stressful conditions as a result of family and work-related issues. The situation gets severe when such people have no appropriate avenue to express their concerns for suitable redress. In extreme cases, they resort to suicide as the best solution to their mental agony. Recent happenings of some senior and junior officers committing suicide are very regrettable concerns to the Police Administration. This unwanted trend needs to cease forthwith. You commanders have a very crucial role to play in this regard”
“It is envisaged that the Counselling Unit will serve as an appropriate avenue or channel for personnel to express their psychological concerns for appropriate redress. It is expected that the Unit, which is staffed by competent personnel, will roll out a broad range of programmes to improve psychological concerns of personnel and help them to overcome their struggling state. The Police Administration anticipates that the Counsellors will focus on individual treatment as well as group therapy to help others in similar situations”, he added.
The four-day training empowered participants with relevant modules such as Police and Mental Health, Recognizing Common Mental Health Issues, Stress and Post-Trauma Management, Self-Care and Family Management, Decision-Making and Emotional Intelligence, Retirement Preparation/Planning and Identity Management would be taught. Undeniably, these modules will build and reinforce mental health interventions of course participants to address the short and medium-term needs of personnel of the Service