Wiltshire Police is one of the few forces in the country to have its own dedicated Mental Health Nurse to support staff and officers with the stresses and strains of modern-day work and life.
The post has been in place for the past two years and is currently held by Chris Deaville (35) who has been in the role for the past eight months, having worked in the Force’s Triage Team before then.
Chris has worked in the NHS most of his professional life and now it’s his job to assess staff and officers who are referred to him via the Force’s Occupational Health Team (OHT).
Usually within 48 hours, an employee will be contacted by a member of the OHT who will arrange to meet the person face to face to discuss what’s on offer to help them get back to work, remain in work and manage their mental health so they can keep working.
Chris said: “We will discuss a whole range of things to help them – this might mean sign-posting them to other services like counselling, their GP or even a physiotherapist to name a few examples.
“There are many mental health issues people come to us with.
“Stress is certainly one of the big ones – and it’s my job to try and help people deal with that so they can keep coming to work.”
Chris can help people with coping strategies like Mindfulness and Grounding techniques.
“Mindfulness is like a type of meditation – it’s focusing on the present and trying not to focus on the past or future.
“Grounding is helping someone, who might be in a state of high anxiety, to calm down by engaging their senses – what they can see, hear, smell, feel and taste.”
Chris’s diary is packed out daily, “Thankfully, people are more aware of mental health issues these days – they’re talking about it more and seeking help if they need it.
“Me being busy proves there is a massive demand for our services.
“We want more people to seek help if they need it because that’s the only way forward to achieve good mental health for anyone.”