Mental health support for emergency services: Belinda Mason

Mental health support for emergency services: Belinda Mason

Mental health support for emergency services: Belinda Mason

Introduction

Mental health support for emergency service personnel is a growing need. Some 92% of emergency service staff and volunteers in England had experienced stress, low mood or poor mental health at some point in their career.

“My Fellowship continues to be a journey of learning and discovery, both personally and professionally." - Belinda Mason, Fellow

Police Sergeant Belinda Mason (CF 2018) has used her Fellowship findings to create a model of peer support for emergency services. This model matches each individual with a peer who will then provide mental health support by listening and signposting them to appropriate services. The model has been adopted as best practice by the National Police Wellbeing Service, and Belinda has delivered this training to 20 UK police forces . HRH The Duke of Cambridge praised this work during a visit to Northern Ireland in September 2020, when he met Belinda and witnessed the training first-hand.

Belinda was a founder and former Chair of the National Police Suicide Working Group and is now a member of the Royal Foundation’s Emergency Responder’s Working Group. She collaborates with emergency responders throughout the UK and beyond to share best practice and support others to implement wellbeing initiatives. She now works on force welfare full time and is undertaking a Masters in Applied (Police) Psychology.

Belinda has also been inspired by the learnings of Churchill Fellow Garry Botterill (CF 2015), who travelled to the Netherlands and the USA to learn from organisations that use specially trained assistance dogs to support PTSD sufferers. Belinda now has a service dog in training, which will help with PTSD experienced by colleagues and herself.

During her service as a police officer, Belinda experienced episodes of anxiety and depression and realised the need for better mental health support for emergency services staff. Her Fellowship took her to Australia, Singapore, Canada and the USA to investigate approaches to improving psychological resilience in policing.

Belinda says, “My Fellowship continues to be a journey of learning and discovery, both personally and professionally. I have ambitious plans to introduce early intervention trauma support systems into my force and an innovative delivery methodology for group EMDR using trained police peer supporters.”

“My Fellowship continues to be a journey of learning and discovery, both personally and professionally." - Belinda Mason, Fellow

Police Sergeant Belinda Mason (CF 2018) has used her Fellowship findings to create a model of peer support for emergency services. This model matches each individual with a peer who will then provide mental health support by listening and signposting them to appropriate services. The model has been adopted as best practice by the National Police Wellbeing Service, and Belinda has delivered this training to 20 UK police forces . HRH The Duke of Cambridge praised this work during a visit to Northern Ireland in September 2020, when he met Belinda and witnessed the training first-hand.

Belinda was a founder and former Chair of the National Police Suicide Working Group and is now a member of the Royal Foundation’s Emergency Responder’s Working Group. She collaborates with emergency responders throughout the UK and beyond to share best practice and support others to implement wellbeing initiatives. She now works on force welfare full time and is undertaking a Masters in Applied (Police) Psychology.

Belinda has also been inspired by the learnings of Churchill Fellow Garry Botterill (CF 2015), who travelled to the Netherlands and the USA to learn from organisations that use specially trained assistance dogs to support PTSD sufferers. Belinda now has a service dog in training, which will help with PTSD experienced by colleagues and herself.

During her service as a police officer, Belinda experienced episodes of anxiety and depression and realised the need for better mental health support for emergency services staff. Her Fellowship took her to Australia, Singapore, Canada and the USA to investigate approaches to improving psychological resilience in policing.

Belinda says, “My Fellowship continues to be a journey of learning and discovery, both personally and professionally. I have ambitious plans to introduce early intervention trauma support systems into my force and an innovative delivery methodology for group EMDR using trained police peer supporters.”