Matthew Scott, APCC Lead for Mental Health and Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, has blogged in support of the campaign, encouraging people to talk about this issue.
Mr Scott said:
Last year, I was speaking with a Member of Parliament by phone about a few issues, and at the end of the call, they asked me if I was OK. I said that I was.
The MP texted me afterwards and said: “Are you sure you’re ok?”
And honestly, I really wasn’t. We had lost our beloved grandfather and I perhaps realised at that point the bereavement was impacting me more than I had thought, and in different ways. The prompt of asking again had made me think.
Much has been said in recent years about how the stigma around mental health has been lifted.
Certainly, policing is one area where much progress has been made. And whilst there is still more to do, forces are better than ever at understanding the stresses and challenges their officers and staff face in keeping our communities safe.
Police and Crime Commissioners recognise we have to look after the wellbeing of those who we ask to look after us.
We have been championing initiatives, such as the Blue Light Programme, and investing in additional resources to manage demand and boost morale. In areas where PCCs have used money from their commissioning budgets to support mental health crisis services, we have shown that early intervention and community-based services can make a real difference.
These local successes are a cause for celebration, but we should not fall into the trap of thinking that the battle has been won. Policing is leading the way, but other institutions have been slower to face up to what is required. PCCs have a role to play in challenging our partners: in holding them to account on behalf of our communities.
‘Time to Talk Day’ encourages individuals to do their bit, too, by striking up conversations.
Getting better at chatting to colleagues, friends, neighbours, and family, is how we continue to make progress. Not sure about someone’s social media status? Pick up the phone! Or drop them a message! Drop a link to someone you’ve not spoken to for a while.
And don’t be afraid to ask - “Are you sure you’re ok?”. It might make a big difference.
Let’s continue to champion and continue to change. There’s always time to talk.”