Northumbria Police are backing national Time to Talk Day which is about showing support for mental health issues.
One in four people will experience a mental health problem each year and today's awareness day aims to get the nation talking and listening about mental health.
The initiative is led by social movement ‘Time to Change’ – which is supported by dedicated mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.
Northumbria Police and Dame Vera Baird, the Police and Crime Commissioner, are committed to improving services both for the people who come in to contact with the force and also officers and staff.
Among the highly-regarded provisions currently provided to the public are the Street Triage teams. Working alongside Northumberland Tyne and Wear Foundation Trust, this sees a police officer and mental health nurse providing face-to-face care for those in crisis.
The force has also developed an award-winning multi-agency simulation training package for professionals involved in mental health crisis care, known as Respond.
When it comes to the welfare of officers and staff, Northumbria Police and Dame Vera have both signed Mind's Blue Light Time to Change Pledge, a commitment to challenge mental health stigma and promote positive wellbeing.
As part of this there are an increasing number of volunteer Blue Light Champions within the force to offer specialist peer support to colleagues.
Dame Vera said: "Time to Talk Day is the perfect opportunity to reinforce that it’s good to talk openly about mental health and the help that’s available.
"Northumbria Police works hard to ensure the right service is available to those who need support. I am fully committed to making sure this work continues and I’d like to thank all our officers and partners for providing help and support to people experiencing mental health issues – not just today but every day."
Chief Constable Winton Keenen said, along with the public, it was vital that emergency services personnel have access to mental health services.
He said: "We are committed to ensuring whenever we respond to someone experiencing a mental health crisis, they receive the most appropriate care possible and I am proud of the services we provide with our partners.
"The welfare of officers and staff is also a priority and it is vitally important they have support networks in place should they need them. The very nature of our job alone can mean our colleagues need some form of support during their career, but there are various other reasons why someone may be experiencing difficulties. This is nothing to be ashamed of and we should not be afraid to openly talk about it.
"We know it’s not always easy to open up about mental health, but talking to someone can make a huge difference.
"Providing a safe and trusted place to talk, free of judgment, is vital in ensuring our staff and officer’s wellbeing is cared for and that’s a big part of why we are supporting Time to Talk Day."