Northumbria Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner are encouraging people to talk about mental health as they throw their support behind Mental Health Awareness Week.
The week, which runs until Sunday, is organised by the Mental Health Foundation and focuses on the theme of relationships and their importance in maintaining good mental health. As part of this, the Foundation is encouraging people to ask themselves whether they can spend more time with their friends, families and colleagues to support them with any issues they may have.
In February, Northumbria Police Chief Constable Steve Ashman and Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Vera Baird signed the Blue Light Pledge to underline their commitment to supporting the workforce. And now they are again encouraging officers and staff to have an open discussion about mental health and how they can support each other to end mental-health stigma in the North East.
The Force will also be publicising the partnership work being done in the Force street triage team to ensure members of the public suffering from mental-health issues receive the best possible care when they come into contact with police.
Assistant Chief Constable Jo Farrell, the force lead for mental health, said: "Everyone at Northumbria Police is committed to building upon the good work already being done to end mental-health stigma. We already have well-established support networks in place for our workforce, but we will be doing further work to ensure our offices and staff have access to those services.
"We are also working closely with partners to make sure mental-health service users who come in contact with our officers receive the most appropriate police response. Our mental-health street triage team are already doing great work in partnership with Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust to provide those members of the public support at the earliest possible stage.
"This awareness week is a great opportunity for the North East public to come together and talk openly about mental health to make the stigma surrounding it a thing of the past."
Northumbria PCC Vera Baird said: "I am fully committed to ensuring Northumbria Police continues to work closely with partners to make sure people in our area successfully receive the support they need, when they need it - not just this week but every week. We want to encourage people to speak out and raise awareness of mental health issues and the impact they have on peoples' lives."
For more information on Mental Health Awareness Week, visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/mentalhealthawarenessweek/