A new app which aims to help Sussex Police officers with mental illnesses including depression and PTSD is launching this week.
The brainchild of Chichester-based response officer Sergeant Garry Botterill, ‘Backup Buddy’ will help employees find the right help for themselves and others.
Giles York, Sussex Police chief constable, said: “In many ways the stigma associated with mental health can actually be more disabling than the condition itself.
“I want our people to get the support and guidance they need. I am incredibly proud of our work, every day I ask our officers and staff to take on exceptional challenges to keep the public of Sussex safe. We need to have the courage to start conversations about mental health, to give people the confidence that they will be heard and understood.”
The app features information on various mental illnesses, warning signs to look out for in yourself and in others, and staff testimonials
The force has worked with mental health support charities for quite some time and is committed to tackling the stigma surrounding mental illness. Two years ago the force signed Mind’s Blue Light Pledge and in May last year launched the mental health advocacy scheme.
One of the officers using the app, Chief Inspector Pip Taylor, said: “We need to give staff the confidence to talk and if my story can help then I have shared it.
“For every person that thinks I’m weak for being ill, I know I have shown strength and courage to admit my illness and ask for help. I will not be defined by my illness and I will use it to grow in strength and help others to do the same.”