Understanding the Mental Health and Wellbeing Needs of Police Officers and Staff in Scotland



Demou E, Hale H & Hunt K (2020) Understanding the Mental Health and Wellbeing Needs of Police Officers and Staff in Scotland. Police Practice and Research, 21 (6), pp. 702-716.

Police work can be stressful and demanding and can impact on employee wellbeing. This study aimed to understand mental health (MH) issues and risk factors for poor MH in officers and staff of the Police Service of Scotland (PSoS); and gather their ideas of workplace wellbeing interventions that are suitable for this workforce. Face-to-face/telephone interviews were conducted with 30 Superintendents and eight stakeholders, recruited throughout PSoS. Interview topics included: MH issues; health/health behaviours; employment; and potentially beneficial workplace interventions. A thematic analysis approach was adopted. High levels of occupational stress and anxiety, currently or in the past, were reported, as were experiences of PTSD, anxiety and depression. The main stressors reported were working hours, workload, culture, leadership and organisational change. Officers and staff recognised progress towards promoting and managing MH in the service but identified interventions, including training, counselling, and environmental workplace changes as needed to address mental health issues within police cultures.

police; mental health; workplace intervention; stress; PTSD; stigma; occupational health

Police Practice and Research: Volume 21, Issue 6

Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online09/06/2020
Date accepted by journal02/05/2020

People (2)


Dr Hannah Hale

Dr Hannah Hale

Research Fellow, NMAHP

Professor Kate Hunt

Professor Kate Hunt

Professor, Institute for Social Marketing