Stress is a real problem in policing, according to The Cumbria Police Federation, which has been urging officers to reach out for support as part of Stress Awareness Month.

Nationally, nearly 10,000 police officers took time off due to stress, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder in the past year, according to the Cumbria Police Federation.

Chairman of the Cumbria Police Federation, Paul Williams, said more efforts are being made to address stress in the workplace.

“It’s hard to spot or recognise the early signs and many times officers are already broken before it comes to the surface,” said Mr Williams.

“Officers on a daily basis deal with harrowing incidents.

“Abuse and violence towards the police has significantly increased and along with having to deal with very serious disturbing incidents, having to make serious decisions in split second high-pressure scenarios all gradually chip away at officers over a number of years and this is bound to affect any human being mentally.”

Also according to the Cumbria Police Federation, each police officer is likely to encounter between 400 to 600 traumatic events. Most citizens will experience between three or four in their lifetime.

Police Federation England and Wales (PFEW) January, 2021, Demand, Capacity and Welfare Survey revealed that almost 80 per cent of officers said they have struggled with their mental health and wellbeing over the past 12 months.

Mr Williams added: “The positive thing is it is not being brushed under the carpet.

“Increasing efforts are being made to address the issues of stress and I have certainly over the years seen a huge increase of officers willing to talk about it and recognise themselves when early warning signals appear.

“We now have easier access to training around mental health first-aid, along with access to counselling and inputs on resilience techniques."

Mr Williams added: “As an organisation, we are certainly improving on recognition and treatment and the Federation often joins forces with the Constabulary to help and get as much as we can for any member who is suffering."

For more information, or to take an individual stress test, visit The Stress Management Society website.